...It was failing, badly, and was in danger of becoming the first school in Montgomery County, an affluent, high-achieving suburb of Washington, D.C., to be taken over by the state. The superintendent of schools [Jerry Weast] lured a highly regarded principal out of retirement to take one last shot at saving the school. The new principal focused on reading and math, the subjects tested to determine whether a school meets federal standards known as “adequate yearly progress.” Over three years, average scores jumped as much as 78 percentage points.
This narrative began to fall apart in the years following Highland’s Blue Ribbon designation. Some test scores dropped almost as sharply as they had risen. Last year, for the first time since 2005, Highland failed to make AYP..