December 26, 2013

Carroll schools react to C, B

Delphi superintendent pleased with schools' grades.

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — FLORA – Carroll Elementary’s state-issued school grade decreased to a C after an A issued in 2012.

School administrators know what needs to be worked on, Chris Lagoni, superintendent at Carroll Consolidated School Corp., said. One of the areas to improve is a focus on language arts, he said.

“Growth is harder to achieve at higher-achieving schools,” Lagoni said.

The district increased the overall passing level by 2 percent. Though the number of students who passed increased, there wasn’t enough growth, Lagoni said.

“We feel it’s a little bit flawed and have tried to communicate it is flawed,” Lagoni said.

Lagoni and Amanda Skinner, the elementary school’s principal, submitted an appeal based on the computer and testing company server problems during ISTEP last spring.

One of the reasons the school received a penalty was because 20 students in sixth grade earned a math score of “undetermined.” Although the students tested, the A to F calculation requires undetermined to be counted as non-testers, Lagoni said.

In a letter sent home to parents, Lagoni noted the waiver of the 20 scores for the participation penalty would remove the penalty of -2 for student participation.

The Department of Education ended up taking the 20 test scores out of calculation, but the students with the dismissed scores had a high success rate, Lagoni said.

Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School maintained a B grade this year. The focus moving forward will be on the high-ability program, Project Excel, and helping students in the top 25 percentile grow.

Ralph Walker, superintendent at Delphi Community School Corp., was happy to see the high school and elementary school earn A grades and the middle school earn a B.

When Walker arrived in the district seven years ago, he said they were receiving warnings to improve.

“This is very rewarding for me because I’ve had this goal since I’ve been here to be close to the top in the state academically,” Walker said.

He hopes to keep going now that they’re in the top 25 percent.

Programs have been implemented to help raise the bar on rigor. At the most recent board meeting, four interventionists were approved to work at the middle school and high school to bring children who have fallen behind up to speed, Walker said.

Walker said school leaders are ecstatic about the grades.

“We believe it will be a very successful at the nest level,” Walker said.

Last year, 80 percent of students passed the ISTEP+ standardized test. The goal this year is 82 percent.

“A lot of hardworking teachers have put in many hours to make this happen,” Walker said. “We’re blessed to have a great staff.”

Lagoni said he is looking forward to see what the new A to F model will look like.

“We want to see the growth,” Lagoni said. “We’re focused on helping kids grow and firmly believe kids should have growth from a year’s attendance.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or Follow her: @PharosAES.