Local school districts earn passing grades on state report card

GOSHEN — The Indiana Department of Education released 2017-18 school corporation accountability grades Wednesday.

Of the eight local public school districts — Goshen, Concord, Fairfield, Middlebury, Wa-Nee, Wawasee, Westview and West Noble — only one school corporation saw a change to its letter grade compared to last year. Data for private schools were not included in Wednesday’s release.

Goshen Community Schools saw its letter grade increase from a “C” in 2016-17 to a “B” in 2017-18.

“We are very proud of the district and all the work that is done here on behalf of our students,” Diane Woodworth, superintendent of Goshen Community Schools, said in response to the grade report Wednesday. “We are thankful that the district grade went up, and we continue to strive for excellence in all that we do. We are impressed with our students and staff and how they contribute to Goshen and how they will impact the world in the future.”

Steve Hope, assistant superintendent in charge of secondary education at GCS, offered a similar sentiment in response to the good news Wednesday.

“Goshen Community Schools has seen an increase in student achievement with the efforts of a number of initiatives. There is a continued focus on delivering quality instruction in every classroom, every day,” Hope said. “Through the continued use of the TAP (Teacher and Student Advancement Program) system, Goshen Community Schools invests in on-going professional development of all teachers, making Goshen teachers some of the best trained teachers in America. Along with our continued use of TAP, some Goshen schools have started working with the Partnership for Leaders in Education, which is a collaborative between Goshen Community Schools and the University of Virginia. In this program Goshen school leaders work with the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, as well as the Darden School of Business, to create improvement plans that focus on the growth of every student.”

Hope went on to praise what he called the corporation’s innovative district offerings, such as its K-12 New Tech and International Baccalaureate pathways, as playing a major role in helping the district to improve its accountability scores.

“These programs allow Goshen to compete with much larger suburban and urban communities, offering a world-class education,” Hope said. “The increase in student achievement and the resulting district grade is a direct reflection of the work of our dedicated teachers.”

In 1999, the General Assembly passed Public Law 221 which created a performance-based accountability system. In response to this legislation, the State Board of Education, IDOE and the Education Roundtable collaborated over the next two years to establish the administrative rules outlining the state’s accountability system. Those rules were finalized and in place by the end of 2001.

In 2015, SBOE established new metrics for Indiana’s student-centered accountability system. Current state metrics went into effect beginning with the assessment of the 2015-16 school year.

Under the current system, each school and school corporation in Indiana receives a letter grade rating, ranging from “A” to “F.” School corporations are evaluated in math and English/ Language Arts scores, college and career readiness and graduation rates, but also by students’ ISTEP+ scores.

Local corporation grades for the 2017-18 school year are as follows: Fairfield, B; Concord, B; Middlebury, B; Wa-Nee, A; Goshen, B; Westview, A; West Noble, B; and Wawasee, C.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN

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