Educators examine recently released Scorecards

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published September 3, 2014

WARREN/CENTER LINE — As school officials start a new school year, educators are assessing the Top-to-Bottom (TTB) Ranking and School Accountability Scorecards the Michigan Department of Education released Aug. 13.

The scorecards indicate the performance of schools and districts, and combine traditional accountability metrics with TTB, Priority, Focus and Reward school designations, and other state and federal requirements.

The color-coded scorecard provides a tool that gives schools, districts, parents and the public a way to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to provide greater transparency on multiple levels of school performance, according to the MDE. Colors are determined by points accumulated for goals met or by demonstrating improvement.

According to the MDE, green is the highest and indicates the district and/or school attained 85 percent of possible points. Lime is a sign of attaining at least 70 percent, but less than 85 percent of possible points.

Yellow shows the district/school achieved at least 60 percent, but less than 70 percent of possible points, and the orange-colored level means the district/school attained at least 50 percent, but less than 60 percent of possible points. Red is the lowest score and indicates less than 50 percent of possible points. This year, the state also added a purple color that demonstrates what the MDE calls “insufficient data,” primarily for newer schools.

“Overall, we were yellow for the whole district, which is most Michigan schools,” Center Line Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lisa Oleski said. “All of our buildings were yellow except for the middle school, Wolfe, (which) received an orange.”

When breaking down each subject area, all the CLPS buildings and the district received green status in reading, writing, math and social studies, but not in science.

“Science scores were low across the state. We know we need to increase our scores,” Oleski said. “We’re making our growths except for science. The district is looking at every single area where we need to put more focus, support and professional development. We are going to target science this year with support from the Macomb Intermediate School District.”

In Fitzgerald Public Schools, all the schools were in the yellow with the exception of the Neigebaur Alternative High School, which was red. The district did not have any Priority or Focus schools.

“Overall, we are very proud of the progress our students are making,” FPS Superintendent Barbara VanSweden said in an email. “However, we recognize that there are groups of students that need additional support beyond classroom instruction in the areas of math and science. Our special education and English Language Learners are among the students that we will continue to provide direct support.”

In regard to the TTB ranking in FPS, Chatterton Middle School and Mound Park Elementary improved in the rankings, while Fitzgerald High School and Westview and Schofield elementary schools dropped in the rankings. Staff will analyze the data to determine weak areas of achievement and the graduation rate.

Van Dyke Public Schools received yellow status. As for each individual school, Lincoln High School received orange; Lincoln Middle School, and Lincoln and McKinley elementary schools received were placed in the red category; and yellow was given to Carlson Elementary School.

Kennedy Elementary School also received yellow status. Although the school became an early childhood center last year and the elementary students relocated to other schools, Kennedy still receives a scorecard. According to VDPS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Piper Bognar, that is due to prior students’ scores who are still in the district and have taken the MEAP at other schools.

At the Aug. 18 VDPS Board of Education meeting, Bognar presented the district’s Priority Schools quarterly report on McKinley and LMS. Lincoln Elementary School was named a Priority School this past August.

A Priority School means the school is performing in the bottom 5 percent of the TTB list in the state of Michigan based on the annual Michigan Educational Assessment Program test. School officials are working hard to change that and increase student achievement.

School officials have five top goals to address the Priority Schools. That includes  conducting “balanced assessment” work with Tom Many, with the help of the Macomb Intermediate School District Regional Assistance grant.

Balanced assessment includes the differentiation between curriculum and instruction; prioritizing standards with designated curriculum; and assessing formatively, collectively, formally and informally to get the best and most accurate results. In addition, instructional learning cycles were completed at both schools, as were tiered instruction program restructuring, including progress monitoring.

According to the report, small group instruction also was a focus at the middle school and McKinley. Also presented was Information on “climate and culture shifts” as part of the reform plan designed to improve the school climate and increase student achievement.

Four schools in Warren Consolidated Schools have been identified as Priority Schools: Cromie, Fillmore, Harwood and Willow Woods. According to WCS Chief Academic Officer Joseph Konal, the administrators at each building and central office administrators, including Superintendent Robert Livernois, attended two days of meetings Aug. 13-14 to begin to develop plans to improve student achievement in each of the schools.

“These designated schools, along with all of the schools in Warren Consolidated Schools, provide a quality educational experience for students but have been challenged by declines on the MEAP assessments over the past two school years, which have resulted in Priority School designation,” Konal stated in an email.

“The schools will be working closely with the state School Reform Office and facilitators from the Macomb Intermediate School District to analyze the data from the MEAP assessments and local assessments to develop specific plans to improve achievement and move out of this priority schools status. 

“We are confident that we will succeed in demonstrating the expected improvement in our schools,” Konal stated.