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State school report cards don’t tell the whole story
Annual school report cards subject to new state waiver
October 29, 2012
Although Crook County School District had two schools in need of improvement on their yearly report card, the rating does not tell the entire story.
School district report cards were released by the Department of Education earlier this month, and the two schools that needed improvement in Crook County School District were Pioneer Secondary Alternative High School and Crook County High School. Crystal Green, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Education, said that CCHS had a subgroup in Special Education who participated with than less than 95 percent in reading and math.
“That dropped them down to the “in need of improvement category,” it would have been satisfactory otherwise,” commented Green.
The breakdown of subgroups was part of the waiver of the Federal No Child Left Behind Law that became effective last summer.
“In the past in the report card, we looked at participation overall, and now we integrated participation by subgroup into the report card,” added Green.
She said this is an interim model (report cards) and they will have a redesigned and different report card next year.
“The one thing that we have learned with these report cards, is the way they are designed, you only do as well as your worst subgroup does,” commented CCSD School board member Scott Cooper.
He also highlighted that there are many positive spots on the report card that reflect that CCSD students are exceeding in many levels from the state scores.
“To see us popping up and over in different areas, I think is a real testament to the success of some of these intervention strategies,” said Cooper. “We haven’t got there yet, but the strategies are working —at least that is what it suggests to me.”
Crook County had five schools in the satisfactory rating, two in need of improvement, and one that is outstanding.
This compares with 10 schools in the Bend-La Pine School District that were satisfactory, two in need of improvement, and 16 that are outstanding. Jefferson County had two schools that were not rated, two that were satisfactory, and three that were in need of improvement. Redmond School District had nine schools that were rated satisfactory and two that were outstanding. Sisters School District received all outstanding ratings.
“The reports each principal spoke to at our last Board meeting (September meeting) show that our students are on track or better in many academic areas,” commented Cecil Sly Principal Jim Bates. “They also identify specific sub-groups that we can give extra attention to if needed and clearly there is a need in some areas.
“In Crook County School District, the entire staff has accepted the tremendous losses of a few years back and reshaped how we work together,” continued Bates. “We operate with a very lean staffing system but make growth in many categories. No one is satisfied with our current numbers because there is an opportunity to do better. There is no shortage of dedication in our workforce. That’s the story behind the numbers that is encouraging to me.”
Cooper also added that although their scores aren’t where they would like them to be for Pioneer Alternative High School, he believes that the specialized environment and attention for these students is important, and should continue.
The Acting Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton commented that although science and reading standards were raised this year, he didn’t think the results were where they should be — especially at the high school level in Oregon.
“This year’s test results highlight both areas of great progress and areas of great concern,” said Acting Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “Our elementary and middle school students continue to rise to the challenge of higher expectations, but the high school results this year are not where they need to be. The decrease in the percent of students meeting elementary and middle school reading targets was to be expected. When you raise the bar, not all kids will get over it in the first year, but just as we saw with math in 2010-11, student learning has increased as students and schools work to reach these higher expectations. However, our students’ science results are very disappointing as were our English Language Learners’ test results this year. And high school performance was flat or down in every subject. I know our high schools are working hard, but clearly something has to change because we are not moving in the right direction. We need to reverse this trend and soon if we are going to meet our 40-40-20 goal.”