Letter: School story disappoints Falmouth principal

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I am extremely disappointed by The Forecaster’s headline, “Falmouth Elementary School Fails to Meet Federal Standards.” The average reading and math proficiency scores exhibited by Plummer-Motz students, as well as students in the middle and high school, far outperform averages statewide and on a national level. 

Seventy-five percent of all subgroups of students must meet proficiency levels in reading in order to meet adequate yearly progress, or AYP.  In our case, a small percentage of students with learning disabilities, despite their best efforts, did not meet that incredibly high standard. It should also have been noted that “AYP” is under review at the national level. 

To use one particular score as a reason to chastise the school is inexcusable.  A more thoughtful approach would be to address the way in which the federal government is looking to redefine AYP as an annual measure of student growth, not an unreachable and arbitrary benchmark for some of our children.  In the future, I encourage the paper to think about the students who you target and humiliate when you create a headline such as this.

We value all of our students at Plummer-Motz and embrace this diversity despite the negative headline you chose to assign the story.  In fact, 97 percent of our students with no identified disability met this rigorous benchmark at Plummer-Motz; that is something to celebrate and would have made for a far more uplifting headline reflecting the excellent work of all of our students and teachers.

Karen Boffa, principal
Plummer-Motz School
Falmouth

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