Astoria Middle School won't face federal sanctions for failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards.

Earlier reports inaccurately stated that the school would be required to offer tutoring to students because it failed to meet benchmark goals two years in a row.

During 2002-03, the school's attendance level barely fell below federal standards. In 2003-04 the middle school just missed testing enough of its economically disadvantaged students in math.

Because the standards the school missed weren't in the same area two years in a row it is not actually in the "needs improvement" category. Being in the "needs improvement" category initiates a variety of corrective steps a district must begin, which may or may not include tutoring.

"It has to do with us getting the right information at the get-go and we didn't," said Diane Higgins, director of special programs for the Astoria School District.

The district is currently appealing its participation numbers, which were the only reason some of the Astoria schools didn't meet the federal requirements this year. Many participation rates for sub-groups, for example economically disadvantaged students, hovered just one or two percent below the 95 percent minimum. Because Astoria has a 30 percent transient rate, students could easily have been registered in the district, moved prior to testing and not registered in another district, thus counting against the Astoria district in the area of participation.

"I'm hopeful we will see those not-mets in participation removed," Higgins said.

All students at the middle school, as well the school's sub-groups, exceeded academic targets by 2 to 20 percent in English/language arts and 14 to 23 percent in math.

"With a school needing to meet all the standards in a potential of up to 61 areas, and the focus of No Child Left Behind on consequences for not-mets, there is a lot of opportunity for perceived failure and little focus and recognition for the accomplishments of students and the teachers," Higgins said. "Astoria parents can truly be proud of the work of their children and the efforts the district staff, especially in light of challenging economic times for the Astoria School District."


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