Columbia Elementary’s state-issued school grade has increased to a B from its devastating F issued in 2012.
Teachers and staff felt defeated after the F grade, but Michele Starkey, superintendent of Logansport Community School Corp., said she was thrilled with the higher grade.
“It’s a boost of confidence for our teachers and staff members — they work so hard,” Starkey said.
Starkey said she is also thrilled Logansport High School received an A after the C grade given in 2012, she said.
She attributes the grade to the focused effort and increased opportunities offered by the staff at the high school.
There was a decline in the seventh grade at Columbia Middle School and sixth grade at Lincoln Middle school, but neither schools had points taken away for low growth, Starkey said.
Columbia Middle School’s D grade decreased from a C grade in 2012 and Lincoln Middle School maintained a C grade.
Staff members have been looking at student data and focusing on areas that need improvement.
“Everyone is on the same page, we have good schools doing great things just to improve,” Starkey said.
Franklin, Fairview and Landis Elementary schools also received A grades.
Some administrators weren’t as pleased with letter grade results.
Caston Elementary’s D grade, equal to its grade issued in 2012, may have been influenced by the serious testing interruptions during ISTEP+ assessment last spring, according to Caston Schools interim Superintendent Cindy Douglass.
Douglass, who until this fall was principal at Caston Elementary, said she had appealed the grade and was disappointed.
“We had one grade level that impacted us significantly enough that it took our letter grade from a B to a D,” Douglass said. That grade level experienced significant test disruptions, ending with 9 percent of the ISTEP+ scores -- the scores of five students -- being pulled out.
Four of those five students had historically passed state standardized tests “with flying colors,” Douglass said.
“I’m not into making excuses, but when every student counts 2 percent for us and we’re having kids pulled out of the mix because of things we had no control over, that just makes a very volatile system for us,” Douglass said.
Although schools at Southeastern School Corp. either stayed the same or increased, Trudie Hedrick, superintendent at Southeastern School Corp., said she isn’t pleased with the grading system.
Galveston Elementary improved to a C grade from a D grade in 2012 and Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School and Thompson Elementary maintained C grades.
“I know we can do better, but we’re headed in the right direction,” Hedrick said.
That is one of the reasons Hedrick put in for a data analyst to work on the need for remediation and response to intervention (RTI) to determine kids needs, she said.
When the grading system was implemented, Hedrick wrote a three-page letter to Tony Bennett, former state superintendent, saying she doesn’t think it’s appropriate students be compared to peers across the state.
Hedrick explained that there is a student who received a perfect score two years in a row, but because the student technically didn’t “grow” he was considered low growth.
“The grade shouldn’t define the student, school and community,” She said. “We’re not cutting any art, band, academic or athletic programs and we’re producing well-rounded kids. People should be proud of this corporation.”
Both Pioneer Elementary and Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High received letter grades higher than last year’s. Pioneer Elementary received an A, the junior high a B and the senior high an A. Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High’s overall grade was a B.
Superintendent David Bess said he and others at the school were pleased to have successfully navigated the assessment system currently in place, though he said he had “serious questions” about the metrics.
He’s attended two briefings about the development of new metrics, he said, and is somewhat optimistic that the changes to the assessment will benefit students far more.
In Winamac, the elementary and high schools both maintained the A grade they had in 2012. Winamac Community Middle School received a C grade, one below the B it achieved last year.
Eastern Pulaski Community Schools Superintendent Dan Foster attributed the drop to less growth than expected among students’ scores.
Students passed the math assessment at a rate of 90 percent, Foster pointed out, but about 80 percent passed the English/language arts assessment.
“We didn’t meet growth the way we need to,” Foster said, so faculty and staff are focusing on how to improve it, specifically addressing English/language arts skills.
Some minor changes made at the beginning of this school year have already started improving students’ skills, Foster said, and school administrators are considering ways to set aside more time for reading.
“It’s one of those things you don’t want to take a big swing at it until you’re confident you really know what’s going on,” Foster said.
School 2013 grade 2012 grade LOGANSPORT Logansport Community High A C Lincoln Middle C C Franklin Elementary A A Fairview Elementary A A Landis Elementary A B Columbia Elementary B F Columbia Middle D C SOUTHEASTERN Galveston Elementary C D Lewis Cass Jr-Sr High C C Thompson Elementary C C PIONEER Pioneer Jr-Sr High B C Pioneer Elementary A B CASTON Caston Elementary D D Caston Jr-Sr High C D EASTERN PULASKI Eastern Pulaski Elementary A A Winamac Community Middle C B Winamac Community High A A CARROLL Carroll Jr-Sr High B B Carroll Elementary C A DELPHI Delphi Community Middle B B Delphi Community High A B Delphi Community Elementary A A TWIN LAKES Twin Lakes Senior High A B Roosevelt Middle C B Oaklawn Elementary A A Meadowlawn Elementary A C Woodlawn Elementary A A PRIVATE All Saints Catholic C A