Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 21, 2013

Goshen schools make A-F grade gains

By JOHN KLINE john.kline@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — New school grades through the state’s controversial A-F grading system were released Friday afternoon following a meeting of the State Board of Education, demonstrating what appears to be an upward trend in school performance statewide.

According to the board, 938 Indiana schools received an A grade for 2013, up from 856 in 2012; a total of 451 schools earned a B, up from 420 in 2012; a total of 372 schools earned a C, down from 425 in 2012; a total of 209 schools received a D, down from 242 in 2012; and a total of 112 schools received an F, down from 144 in 2012.

Goshen Community Schools

Over at Goshen Community Schools, the corporation received more gains than losses when it comes to grade improvements for the 2012-2013 school year.

Four of the corporation’s nine schools saw improvements in their grades, two saw no change from their 2012 grades, and three schools saw a drop in their grades from 2012.

“The A-F grades for GCS show some significant gains and thus we are pleased with the growth that was realized,” said GCS Superintendent Diane Woodworth following the release of the grades Friday afternoon. “However, we acknowledge that there is still much work to do in order to build on this growth to continue to raise student achievement. We will do this work while maintaining our commitment to developing the whole child and to providing excellence and quality for all Goshen students.”

Goshen Middle School showed a particularly impressive increase this year, jumping from an F in 2012 to a C for 2013. Both Prairie View and West Goshen elementary schools also turned out good performances, with both jumping from a D in 2012 to a B for 2013. While other schools within the corporation did see decreases in their grades from the previous year, Chamberlain Elementary jumped out as perhaps the most drastic, dropping from a D in 2012 to an F for 2013.

A breakdown of the corporation’s grades by individual school is as follows:

• Goshen Middle School — C, up from an F in 2012

• Model Elementary School — D, down from a C in 2012

• Waterford Elementary School — D, no change from 2012

• Goshen High School — B, up from a C in 2012

• Chamberlain Elementary School — F, down from a D in 2012

• Chandler Elementary School — D, down from a C in 2012

• Parkside Elementary School — B, no change from 2012

• Prairie View Elementary School — B, up from a D in 2012

• West Goshen Elementary School — B, up from a D in 2012

For her part, Woodworth said she includes herself among a growing number of educators across the state who feel the A-F system does not accurately reflect what is happening at their schools when it comes to actual student growth and achievement.

“Our children are our community’s greatest treasure, and as such, Goshen Community Schools is truly committed to quality and excellence in all we do,” Woodworth said. “We believe that GCS has many outstanding programs for students and has achieved recognition in the past that is deserving, such as Goshen High School’s standing published in the US News and World Reports in 2012 which ranked GHS 12th in the state of Indiana using a more comprehensive metric.

“Therefore, we will continue to strive for improvement in student achievement, while maintaining our commitment to overall excellence and quality in all programs for our students,” Woodworth continued. “The school district appreciates the support we receive from the entire Goshen community.”

A-F Origins

The origins of the A-F grading system date back to 1999 when Indiana adopted school accountability measurements. With the passage of Public Law 221, the State Board of Education began rating schools based primarily on ISTEP standardized test scores.

At that time, schools were “graded” using the terms Exemplary, Commendable, Academic Progress, Academic Watch and Academic Probation. For those schools with six consecutive years on probation, the state board had the ability to shut a school down or turn it over to a private operator.

In 2011, the system was changed once again when former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett successfully lead an effort to get the system changed from descriptive ratings to actual letter grades for schools.

Designed around a percentile growth model, the new system assigns letter grades to all of Indiana’s public (traditional and charter) and accredited non-public schools, including those participating in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program, by essentially comparing students within the schools to students at similar levels of achievement in other schools. It does this by looking at things like end-of-course assessments, ISTEP scores, graduation rates and college and career readiness.

Additional Local Schools

Below is a breakdown of the letter grade performances of a number of other local school corporations within the Goshen News coverage area:

Fairfield Community Schools

• Fairfield Jr-Sr High School — B, no change from 2012

• Millersburg Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• New Paris Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• Benton Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

Middlebury Community Schools

• Jefferson Elementary School — B, no change from 2012

• Northridge Middle School — A, no change from 2012

• York Elementary School — C, down from an A in 2012

• Heritage Intermediate School — B, up from a D in 2012

• Middlebury Elementary School — A, up from a B in 2012

• Northridge High School, A, no change from 2012

• Orchard View School — A, up from a B in 2012

Wa-Nee Community Schools

• NorthWood Middle School — B, down from an A in 2012

• Wakarusa Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• NorthWood High School — A, no change from 2012

• Nappanee Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• Woodview Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

Concord Community Schools

• Concord Junior High School — C, down from an A in 2012

• Concord Community High School — A, no change from 2012

• Concord Intermediate School — C, down from a B in 2012

• Concord East Side Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• Concord Ox-Bow Elementary School — A, down from a B in 2012

• Concord South Side Elementary School — C, down from a B in 2012

• Concord West Side Elementary School — B, up from a C in 2012

Wawasee Community School Corp.

• North Webster Elementary School — B, up from a C in 2012

• Wawasee Middle School — F, down from a D in 2012

• Milford School — D, down from a C in 2012

• Syracuse Elementary School — D, down from a C in 2012

• Wawasee High School — A, no change from 2012

Westview School Corp.

• Westview Jr-Sr High School — A, no change from 2012

• Topeka Elementary School — B, down from an A in 2012

• Westview Elementary School — C, down from an A in 2012

• Meadowview Elementary School — A, no change from 2012

• Shipshewana-Scott Elementary School — C, down from an A in 2012