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October 31, 2012

Most area schools see grades stay same or improve

The Indiana Department of Education released school grades today after final approval by the state Board of Education at its morning meeting in Indianapolis.

Most of the schools in Cass County and the surrounding area either remained at the same level as they achieved last year or improved a letter grade. The exceptions were Galveston Elementary School, which moved from an A to a D; Thompson Elementary, which fell to a C from last year’s B; and Columbia Elementary School in Logansport, which fell from a C to an F, a grade that only 7.1 percent of all schools in Indiana were given.

This year’s grades aren’t based on the same metric as last year’s, however. While last year’s were based only on ISTEP grades, this year’s incorporate a new metric measuring student growth among cohorts of students drawn from across the state, as well as measuring student proficiency on the annual statewide standardized tests.

“While the assignment of grades is usually easy to assign and understand, this is very complex and is not a true representation of everything that goes on in a school,” said Michele Starkey, superintendent of Logansport Community School Corporation. Before the release of school grades today, administrators had not been able to estimate what grades would be for the elementary and middle schools, either.

Columbia Elementary’s grade came because students didn’t show enough growth, Starkey said, compared to students across the state who had similar scores on the ISTEP.

“It’s not a true reflection of what’s going on over there,” said Starkey. “When they got the information, it was devastating to them. They work very hard, and they’re doing a lot of the right things.”

The good news, she said, was that the corporation’s other grades were acceptable. Logansport Community High School improved its score to a C from last year’s D, according to preliminary state data. Starkey said that grade is out of date and should be a B based on an appeal that was approved this month. The school received notification at 5:53 p.m. Tuesday that the appeal had gone through.

Updated grades are expected to be posted on the IDOE website sometime today.

Columbia Middle School and Lincoln Middle School both got Cs; Franklin and Fairview elementaries got A's; and Landis Elementary got a B.

All Saints School, a small nonpublic school located in Logansport, received an A.

Elsewhere in Cass County, rural schools earned a mix of Bs, Cs and Ds.

Lewis Cass Junior-Senior High School and Thompson Elementary School both earned C's, while Galveston Elementary got a D.

Pioneer Junior-Senior High School got a C and Pioneer Elementary got a B.

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