Arizona Republic
September 3, 2006

Author: Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

Rosemary Agneessens

Principal Rosemary Agneessens takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. If this year's third-graders don't learn to read and pass the AIMS test, she could lose her job.

By federal standards, schools are required to make adequate yearly progress or face government intervention. For four years, Creighton hasn't met the standards. Students are progressing but not fast enough. The state labeled the school as "performing."

However, if the state prevails in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education to drop scores of some English-language learners, the school could be rated as passing for last year.

If not, and if this year's third-graders don't do well, a fifth year without adequate yearly progress calls for restructuring, including possibly replacing the principal.

Agneessens smiles wryly at the thought. It's a stressful job.

She believes that her third-graders will do well -- what with a new reading program, more time reading and tutors in every classroom -- and especially the ones who have been with her since kindergarten. Half of the children who start at Creighton every year are gone by year's end.

Even if they don't score well, if Agneessens can keep kids in school, she can give them a shot at a decent life, away from the poverty and gangs in the neighborhood. That's as important as any test score, she says.

CAPTION: Principal Rosemary Agneessens directs traffic before school. Her job is on the line if her third-graders don't pass federal standards.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Front
Page: A18

Index Terms: SERIES
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Record Number: pho149007130