ELKHART — Indiana schools finally have a grade from the state for the 2012-13 year.
But those grades won’t be public until after schools have had the chance to appeal, said state department of education spokesperson Daniel Altman. He thinks the appeal process may be completed sometime in December.
So, do local school corporations plan to appeal their grades?
Two say they will, while others are satisfied with — or at least resigned to — their grades.
Concord Community Schools Superintendent Wayne Stubbs said that the corporation will appeal the high school’s grade.
“We just caught an error in their calculation,” Stubbs said. “It doesn’t change the letter grade, but it just changes the number that gets turned into the letter grade.”
Overall, Stubbs said, Concord’s schools saw improvement but there are still areas where “we have our work cut out for us.”
Goshen Schools will also appeal one of its school’s letter grades, said Diane Woodworth, superintendent.
Elkhart schools Superintendent Rob Haworth said that he doesn’t think the corporation will appeal any of its grades. He also said that while the corporation does monitor the grades from the state, it’s not the only tool Elkhart uses to measure success.
“I don’t think that measure adequately reflects what’s going on in our buildings,” Haworth said. “As a district, we know that (the A-F grading system) is not the only measure and we are looking forward to a new grading system — one that will look at growth and hopefully the individual student as well.”
Jim DuBois, superintendent of Baugo Community Schools, said that the corporation does not plan to appeal its grades.
“To my knowledge, we are probably where we thought,” he said.
One Middlebury school is still looking at the data, but Superintendent Jane Allen said that the corporation is not appealing any of its grades. She mentioned that it’s difficult to measure growth in the elementary buildings, since all Middlebury elementary schools are K-3. Just the third grade is tested, and those results reflect on the entire school. Also, since there are new third-graders each year, the elementary schools don’t have the chance to show that students have improved since the previous year’s test scores.
“The system does not measure anything but test scores,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of things that go on in schools that don’t have anything to do with test scores.”
Fairfield Community Schools Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said the corporation won’t appeal its grades.
“We are on par to where we were last year, and in a system that is difficult to understand that’s all we can hope for,” he said.
He added that the school district would like to see a new way to measure student success — one that measures student’s growth “relative to themselves.”
In the current A-F grading system, he said, there’s no way to tell if students are working above grade level. They simply pass or fail tests.
“We would like to see a true growth measure become part of that system,” Thalheimer said.
Superintendent Joe Sabo said the corporation has not yet decided whether to appeal its grades.
“We are in the process of reconciling the student lists at each school,” Sabo said. “We have found some students on our list who do not attend any Wa-Nee school. We will decide about filing an appeal after this is completed.”