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Thursday, May 5, 2016

It's an 'A' grade for WRV and Eastern school districts

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Indiana Department of Education has judged school performance for the first time by using letter grades and a pair of Greene County school districts scored "A's".

Eastern Greene and White River Valley both tallied "A" grades under the state's accountability metrics outlined within Public Law 221 with an "Exemplary" ranking based on student performance and improvement data from the state's ISTEP+ test and end-of-course assessments.

The grades were released this week by state officials.

Linton-Stockton Corporation earned a "B" grade overall and a "commendable" designation.

Bloomfield School District was graded a "C" and made academic progress designation.

The MSD of Shakamak District was given a "D" and put on an "Academic Watch" list.

Eastern Greene Superintendent Ty Mungle says he's pleased with the progress his school is making in the classroom and testing.

"This is the first year letter grades have been given to schools. Therefore, we don't have complete understanding on how the scores are determined and what part of our scores over the last two years come into play," Mungle told the Greene County Daily World. "Obviously, we are very excited at Eastern Greene. This is such an honor for our school and community. Our school community from the building administrators, teachers, support staff, students and parents should be commended on the academic growth of our students. Eastern Greene has made great strides in the area of technology and it seems the students are responding to having technology as part of their learning environment. We realize this is a report card and everyone at Eastern Greene must continue to work hard and maintain our focus on student learning."

White River Valley Superintendent Layton Wall is also elated with the scores for his district.

"The Worthington and Lyons buildings had 'A's' and the junior-senior high school moved up dramatically to a 'C' and we are improving there," Wall said. "The overall corporation grade was an 'A' and we're very proud of that. We did very well with the ISTEP scores."

Wall said improvement put in place the last few years appear to be working.

"Certainly you can't talk about improving the scores without talking about teachers. They are really making the necessary changes, doing assessments and interventions and we have new programs. We are becoming more and more of a data-driven school and where the data shows us we need to go that is kind of where we go. We look for student weaknesses, scores and do what we can to help out," Wall said. "I think we have a lot of good things going on here at White River Valley."

Rankings by individual schools were:

White River Valley (A)

WRV Worthington -- A (Exemplary)

WRV Lyons -- A (Exemplary)

WRV Junior-Senior High -- C (Academic Progress)

Eastern Greene (A)

Eastern Greene Middle School -- C (Academic Progress)

Eastern Greene High School -- C (Academic Progress)

Eastern Greene Elementary -- D (Academic Watch)

Linton-Stockton (B)

L-S Elementary -- A (Exemplary)

L-S High School -- C (Academic Progress)

L-S Junior High -- D (Academic Watch)

Bloomfield (C)

Bloomfield Elementary -- A (Exemplary)

Bloomfield Junior-Senior High -- D (Academic Watch)

MSD of Shakamak (D)

Shakamak Junior-Senior High -- C

Shakamak Elementary -- D

Northeast Sullivan (C)

Dugger Elementary -- C (Academic Progress)

Union High School -- C (Academic Progress)

Mungle explained his school's scores by saying, "It is our understanding the scores of the high school and middle school would have been an A if each of those schools would have made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) last year. Because they didn't the highest score they could receive this year is a C. It is also my understanding the district score was higher because all schools at Eastern Greene made AYP. At EG Elementary, scores from only our third and fourth graders are used to determine their score. I don't know if the elementary scores are weighted accordingly since only two grade levels get tested in our elementary, but I do know last year EG Elementary would have received a B if letter grades would have been issued last year."

The first-year letter grades were accompanied by the traditional rankings schools have received since PL 221's implementation in 1999. The five letter grades assigned to schools align with the five placement categories traditionally given to schools. The switch to letter grades aims to increase transparency and engagement in school communities, according to Indiana Department of Education officials.

Category placements are based on three factors:

* Performance -- The percentage of all students who pass the English/language arts and math portions of the ISTEP-Plus test -- averaged across subjects and grade levels.

* Improvement -- Improvements in the passing percentage of students passing the English/language arts and math portions of the ISTEP-Plus test from one year to the next -- averaged over a three-year period.

* Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status -- Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years can place no higher than the 'academic progress' category. The schools remain capped at that level until they make AYP for two straight years.

A record number of Hoosier schools, 775 in total, received an "A" or "Exemplary" ranking.

Overall, more than 50 percent of Indiana's schools reside in the two highest school ranking categories: 42 percent earned the highest ranking available, "A" or "Exemplary," and another 9 percent were designated as "B" or "Commendable" schools.

The number of schools receiving an "F" or "Academic Probation" ranking decreased by 50 percent from 2011 to 2010 and is at its lowest point in state history.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores were also released for schools statewide.

In Greene County, all schools made AYP with the exception of Linton-Stockton High School, Linton-Stockton Elementary School, White River Valley Junior-Senior High School, and Shakamak Elementary School.

Overall, 51 percent of Indiana schools made AYP in 2011.

AYP is the federal measure for academic progress outlined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and it has been included in PL 221 since the law went into effect. Schools not making AYP for two consecutive years can receive no higher than a "C" or "Academic Progress" ranking, even where a school has raised scores enough to earn a higher rating by state measures.

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Great for Eastern and WRV.

All of you keep up the Good work!

-- Posted by Sweet Thing on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 4:22 PM

I'm confused that Eastern Greene gets an A, but Eastern Greene High School, Middle School, and Elementary get C, C, D, respectively. Is it a separate school? Or does it mean Eastern Greene as a whole get's an A, but each school get's their own grade?

-- Posted by m.nordness on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 4:32 PM

Build it and they will come!!!!

-- Posted by Matt Hockman on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 10:02 PM

Not only is that a compliment to our district; but to our kids, our teachers & staff, parents and community.

Congratulations & Thank you to all of you!

-- Posted by switzie on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 10:47 PM

Great Job Mr Wall and staff,,,,,Eastern too! Actions speak louder than words.....

-- Posted by lvgrnco on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 3:38 AM

Looks like Linton administrators had better wake up to the Jr. High side of things. With a failure rate such as last years class in 8th grade and things not going so well already with this years 8th grade class, maybe some staffing changes and how things are scored should be looked at immediately. While I think that we have a very good teaching staff for the most part, there are obviously a couple of glaring problems that have been ignored that need dealt with.

-- Posted by pinky1 on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 8:46 AM

You can have a new school and all the new equipment you want but if you dont focus on the students and the teachers its not going to help. I'm proud of my WRV honor student at Lyons. Thank you WRV staff!

-- Posted by j77 on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 9:05 AM

I'm with m.nordess...something isn't adding up here. Can anyone explain??

-- Posted by promom on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 10:02 AM

They each got their own grade then they got an overall grade for the entire school system is how I took it.

-- Posted by indymom3 on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 12:54 PM

indymom3, still a C,C & D doesn't add up to an A,or at least it didn't when I was in school. I am just trying to figure it out.

-- Posted by promom on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 2:09 PM
Response by Nick Schneider:
The letter grades were based heavily on improvement. Eastern showed significant improvements in its test scores.

Also questioning how Eastern Greene came up with an "A"... doesn't make sense. Perhaps that would be worthwhile information in this article?

-- Posted by nkd on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 3:43 PM

nkd, I think perhaps the full story should have been printed explaining how the "grades" were assigned. So perhaps Eastern even though their grades were average and below, they get an A for effort??? I think this warrants more information.

-- Posted by promom on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 4:02 PM

There are two sets of "grades" being given. Only ISTEP+, End of Course assessments, attendance, for grades 3-8 and then ECA's and attendance are counted for HS. The federal guidelines from No Child Left Behind pays attention to 17 criteria for elementaries on ISTEP+ scores. Schools must meet all 17 to make AYP. Eastern Greene Elementary has made AYP for four years running. The Middle and High also made AYP this year for the first time. This is huge growth, hence why the overall Eastern Greene Schools grade is an A in the Indiana PL 221 grade system. The IDOE has the rule that until a school makes AYP two years running, they are capped at a letter grade C. That is why the MS and HS have C's. EGES only goes to 4th grade. 3rd grade is considered baseline and only 4th grade ISTEP scores count on the letter grade IDOE gives. (Student growth from K-3 does not count in this letter grade.) 2010 EGES had Commendable Progress, a B. In 2011, there was a drop of .2% (notice the point). That drop was enough to award EGES a D. Plans were made back in April to make corrections. One must ask if the grading scale being used by the IDOE provides the community with good information or not.

-- Posted by easternres on Fri, Sep 2, 2011, at 7:17 AM

Typical politics.....Some schools are punished for being consistent. Some receiving "A" received in large part because they had some much improving to do....In other words, some schools received an A because they went from not so strong to where they should be.

No disrespect to the process, but I a certain governor who thought about running for president would have liked to said, "Hey, look at all of my schools receiving an A"...Now, he isn't running.

Interesting, Eastern's super says that his school got an A but doesn't really understand how. The Dept. of Ed. in this state needs a change. Thank goodness Tony Bennett can't run again.

-- Posted by THE END on Fri, Sep 2, 2011, at 7:21 AM

The quality of any school cannot be judged by the government.

If kids come to school prepared to learn by their families and don't learn, then your school is failing.

If kids come to school prepared by their families to learn and do learn, your school is successful.

If kids don't come to school prepared to learn by their families, I don't think you can expect your school to carry them all the way to the finish line.

-- Posted by THE END on Fri, Sep 2, 2011, at 7:27 AM

I just talked to a woman today, she was telling me about her son who is a Bloomfield graduate from the early 90's. He is now Chief Financial Officer of a huge multi national company in charge of Europe and Africa and lives in Spain. The point I'm trying to make is that we have good schools in Greene County. Any student can get the education they want. Every school has graduates that go on to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, and on and on and on. Todays students can be what ever they choose to be, the opportunities are there all they have to do is reach out and grab hold.

-- Posted by RLU on Fri, Sep 2, 2011, at 7:10 PM

I agree RLU we have had many fine students graduate our local greene county schools and really excell in their careers. it upsets me when they want to treat us like we are indianapolis. we all know indy has a problem with their schools leave the rural communities alone when there is obviously nothing wrong with the education they are providing for the students.

I wouldn't want to be a teacher especially with all these rules and regulations they are handing down.

I would like to know who grades the people who are grading our schools? what qualifications do they have?

-- Posted by elynn66 on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 5:04 PM

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