Some good news, some bad for HCCSC grades

All but two Huntington County Schools received passing grades when the Indiana Department of Education released Indiana school letter grades for 2012 on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

"Overall, our scores validate district growth and continuous improvement," Huntington County Community Schools Superintendent Tracey Shafer says.

Four local schools earned A's - Riverview Middle School, Roanoke Elementary School, Salamonie School and Northwest Elementary School.

Three more schools earned B's - Andrews Elementary School, Lancaster Elementary School and Crestview Middle School.

Huntington North High School received a C grade.

Two schools earned D letter grades - Flint Springs Elementary and Lincoln Elementary.

Huntington Catholic School, which is part of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, earned a C letter grade.

Some of schools showed improvement over last year.
Riverview jumped from a C the past two school years, 2010 and 2011, to an A for 2012.

And Huntington North has improved from an F in 2010 to a C for 2012.

But some schools earned lower grades this year.

Flint Springs dropped from an A in 2010 and 2011 to a D for 2012. Huntington Catholic, which earned an A in 2010, received a B in 2011, and now a C for 2012.

Shafer notes that HNHS students earned a 38 percent in the life readiness area, 13 percentage points higher than the state required 25 percent needed to pass.

"We have improved our ability to score better (at HNHS) by adding rigorous coursework," he adds.

Students at the high school level are now expected to show an 80 percent mastery of Algebra I before moving on to a higher level course, he explains. At the language arts level, he adds, students and teachers are collaborating more with each other toward greater achievement.

Shafer says that some schools' letter grades dropped because of due growth is calculated based on ISTEP+ testing.

Shafer says that although 42 Flint Springs students who passed the ISTEP+ tests last year also passed the ISTEP+ tests this year, the state maintains that they did not demonstrate growth because their scores did not significantly improve.

"If the students passed the ISTEP+ in third or fourth grade, and are passing it again in fourth or fifth grade, aren't they demonstrating growth?" Shafer asks.
He notes the different demographic background at Flint Springs, compared to other schools.

"It is just a different population of kids," he says.
Overall, Shafer says, "I think our people - our staff, our parents - support instruction. We are not second to anybody."

School letter grades have been calculated since the 2010-11 school year, but the grading criteria changed this year.

For 2012, the grades for high schools were based on performance on Algebra 1 and English 10 End of Course Assessment test results, student improvement, graduation rate, and college and career readiness indicators.
For elementary schools, grades were based on English/language arts and math ISTEP+ performance, participation and improvement and student growth.

The criteria new this year includes the Indiana Growth Model at the elementary and middle school level, and college and career readiness indicators at the high school level.

The Indiana Department of Education says the grading system gives parents, students, educators and communities a clear and concise assessment of how well their schools are doing. They say the system is a better way of measuring and reporting school performance each year, as required by state law.

For more information about how the school letter grades are calculated, or to learn more about law and regulations surrounding the process visit www.doe.in.gov.