Most Elkhart County schools earned an A, B or C on Indiana’s new performance measure.
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released the school grades Wednesday morning at the State Board of Education meeting.
Of Elkhart County public schools, 22 received an A; 14 received a B; 11 received a C; nine received a D; and four received an F from the state.
Wa-Nee and Penn-Harris-Madison school corporations were the two local systems to earn an A in every school building.
This is the first year for the state to use a new system of metrics to determine the letter grade for each school.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has described the new system as more comprehensive, but school leaders across the state have criticized the new accountability system. Local superintendents spoke about their concerns last February, when the IDOE announced the new methodology. They said then that, though the system is supposed to be easier to understand, the equations to arrive at the letter grades are confusing.
According to the IDOE, in elementary and middle schools, the system looks at students’ scores on Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) and other standardized tests, student participation on those tests and students’ growth compared to their cohorts each year on those tests. At the high school level, the system takes into account most of that same testing data as well as schools’ graduation rates and students’ college and career readiness based on students’ scores on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, industry certifications and college credits earned during high school.
Elkhart Superintendent Robert Haworth said that there were some “good surprises” in the letter grades for Elkhart schools, with some schools rating higher than they had anticipated.
Concerning the Elkhart schools that received a D or an F, Haworth said staff is “trying to meet those challenges head on,” identifying why those grades were so low and working to adjust curriculum or other aspects accordingly.
While he personally would like to see some modifications to the new system, Haworth said that “it’s the system we have and we have to respond to the system we have.”
An Elkhart Community Schools middle school was one of three local schools recognized by Bennett Wednesday for showing significant gains in their letter grade from 2011 to 2012. He pointed out that North Side Middle School in Elkhart moved from an F to an A, that Concord South Side Elementary moved from an F to a B and that Concord Jr. High School moved from a D to an A.
Last year’s grades, though, were still calculated on the previous system, while this year’s grades were calculated on the new formula, according to the IDOE.
Goshen Superintendent Diane Woodworth said that Goshen’s grades “are extremely disappointing.”
“We acknowledge that there is still work to do to raise student achievement, and we will continue to do this work while maintaining our commitment to developing the whole child and to providing excellence and quality for all Goshen students,” she said in a written statement.
Goshen High School earned a C through the state metrics, but was named the 12th best high school in Indiana in May by U.S. News and World Report, which used some of the same data as the IDOE’s formula, but also factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students and some other data.
Woodworth said that “we believe that the current grades do not accurately reflect the hard work and commitment that Goshen Schools students and staff make every day to student learning,” and that Goshen “will advocate for a more equitable calculation” of the grades, while also striving for school improvement.
For more information on the new accountability system visit www.doe.in.gov.
Here are what local schools earned, according to the IDOE, divided by school district.
B: Jimtown High School, Jimtown Junior High
D: Jimtown Elementary, Jimtown Intermediate
A: Concord Junior High, Concord High School, Concord East Side Elementary
B: Concord Intermediate, Concord Ox-Bow Elementary, Concord South Side Elementary
C: Concord West Side Elementary
A: Cleveland Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, North Side Middle School, West Side Middle School, Pinewood Elementary, Monger Elementary, Woodland Elementary
B: Elkhart Central High School
C: Elkhart Memorial High School, Osolo Elementary, Feeser Elementary, Bristol Elementary, Beardsley Elementary, Daly Elementary, Riverview Elementary
D: Hawthorne Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary
F: Pierre Moran Middle School, Beck Elementary
A: Benton Elementary, Millersburg Elementary, New Paris Elementary
B: Fairfield Jr./Sr. High School
B: Parkside Elementary
C: Model Elementary, Chandler Elementary, Goshen High School
D: Chamberlain Elementary, Prairie View Elementary, Waterford Elementary, West Goshen Elementary
F: Goshen Middle School
A: Northridge Middle School, York Elementary, Northridge High School
B: Jefferson Elementary, Middlebury Elementary, Orchard View Elementary
D: Heritage Intermediate School
A: NorthWood Middle School, Wakarusa Elementary, NorthWood High School, Nappanee Elementary, Woodview Elementary
A: St. Thomas the Apostle School
B: Bethany Christian School, Elkhart Christian Academy, St. John the Evangelist School
F: St. Vincent de Paul School
A: Walt Disney Elementary, Prairie Vista Elementary, Mary Frank Harris Elementary, Schmucker Middle School, Virgil I Grissom Middle School, Madison Elementary, Penn High School, Elm Road Elementary, Elsie Rogers Elementary, Discovery Middle School, Moran Elementary, Bittersweet Elementary, Horizon Elementary, Meadow’s Edge Elementary, Northpoint Elementary