Navajo Preparatory School never has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress since the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates increasing performance levels yearly in math and reading, was passed in 2001. The goal is to have schools with 100 percent proficiency rates by 2014.
AYP reports were issued to most schools at the end of July, but Navajo Prep's designation was delayed because it operates under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The BIA received the AYP reports from the state in July, but held an AYP determination session in September to examine the scores before officially releasing them to the school last week.
The marks Navajo Prep had to hit were 40 percent proficient in mathematics and 50 percent in reading. Students shattered those goals, posting 51.2 percent proficiency in math and
76.7 percent in reading.
"We work hard every year to do it, and I'm really proud of the staff," said Najavo Prep Executive Director Betty Ojaye.
Statewide, only 5.6
percent of high schools made AYP this year. Locally, Piedra Vista High School, Rocinante High School and Bloomfield High School met AYP proficiency standards.
Only 11th-graders are tested, one of the reasons why AYP standardized tests are controversial. Navajo Prep has an enrollment of nearly 200; the testing pool was
Graduation rates also are figured into AYP designations. High schools must graduate 90 percent of their students or show an increase compared with the previous year. During the 2007-08 school year, Navajo Prep graduated more than
97 percent of its students — and between 95 percent and
100 percent of them went on to college, Ojaye said.
Navajo Prep is a private school chartered by the Navajo Nation. In addition to a modern academic curriculum, students also learn Navajo history and culture.
Students seeking admittance to Navajo Prep must provide three letters of
recommendation, have a
2.5 grade point average, attend an oral interview with school administrators and pass an entrance exam.
Students live on campus, have a structured school-related schedule in the evenings, attend mandatory study hall and have access to a variety of learning tools on campus. Navajo Prep Dean of Instruction John C. Tohtsoni Jr. believes those are the reasons for students' collegiate and AYP success.
"Even though we are getting some really great students, we're still going above and beyond in our instructional strategies," he said.
With seven years down and seven left to go, administrators at Navajo Prep hope to keep their streak going all the way through.
"That's our intention," Tohtsoni said.
G. Jeff Golden: