The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

November 1, 2012

School accountability results mixed

WASHINGTON — School accountability grades were released statewide Wednesday and, like test scores, local results were mixed.

Some schools received high marks, while some were left struggling for another year.  

The highest grade, A, went to four schools in the area, Barr-Reeve Middle/High, North Daviess Jr./Sr. High, Veale Elementary and North Elementary. On the opposite end, one school, Lena Dunn Elementary, received an F on the state’s accountability scale.

Washington’s school grades followed trends found in their ISTEP results released earlier this year. North and Veale led the city with A grades. The two schools also received the top mark in 2011.

After the two elementaries, the grades then drop lower. Washington High School and Washington Junior High received Cs while Griffith Elementary School earned a D for 2012.

While the letter grades do not show it, there have been improvements in the high school, especially in math. Since the implementation of a new algebra mastery program two years ago, passing rates have increased 20 percent and now 84 percent of students pass the 10th grade exam for graduation.

The high school also received perfect marks in college and career readiness program, and its graduation rate is at 83 percent, the highest in a decade.

“Our mastery-based approach for algebra has allowed our students to learn at the pace they need to be successful,” Washington assistant superintendent Paul White said. “Students that need reteaching and more time to learn the content get the opportunity. This has been a really successful approach that our teachers and students have come to believe in, and I think the results are there to show that it is working.”

Then there is Lena Dunn.

Lena Dunn, which sees 98 percent of its children on free and reduced lunches based on poverty, will strive for improvement. The school has done so in the past, when faced with declines in the federal No Child Left Behind data.

“We will continue to strive to close the achievement gap for our students at Lena Dunn,” Lena Dunn Principal Brenda Butcher said. “We are focusing on our core curriculum, data driven instruction and best practice strategies. Our top priority academically is to increase the reading level for all students.”

Washington Superintendent Daniel Roach said previously the grade does not reflect the work teachers have done at the school. To show support, the Washington School Board will hold a walkthrough of the school at 8 a.m. Friday to talk with teachers and staff in support of their work.

Grades are based on a state Department of Education formula of test scores, graduation rate and other readiness markers. The formula has been revised in 2012, the state said, and does not hurt schools that already have high marks and keep them there.

Barr-Reeve schools is a good example. Last year, the middle and high school received a B although they were one of the top schools in the state in ISTEP scores. This year, their commitment to excellence was rewarded with an A grade.

But, the elementary school received a B, as did the primary school, and they had the top ISTEP scores in area schools.

“We were very happy with our scores,” Barr-Reeve Superintendent Travis Madison said. “We’ve had our best scores to date across the board. I don’t want it to be seen as a negative.”

Madison said he and the Barr-Reeve administrators and staff have been going through the data, and “had to come to an understanding” with them, especially at the elementary level.

“I didn’t want them to get discouraged,” Madison said. “We did very well.”

North Daviess Jr./Sr. High School made one of the largest improvements in the area in 2012. Last year, the school received a D grade, but this year, the students and faculty have an A.

“The staff has worked extremely hard over the past year or two,” North Daviess Superintendent Robert Bell said. “I think the major difference this year was the staff was using the data to drive instruction.”

ND’s elementary school maintained their grade and received a B from the state.

Statewide, 61 percent received As or Bs from the state accountability system.

In Martin County, all three Loogootee schools received a C while in Shoals, the high school received a C, but the elementary school was given a D.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Tippery said it is not a surprise given there was a small dip in ISTEP scores this year. But a bright point was math scores at the high school level being high, 3.5 points.

Superintendent Larry Weitkamp went on to say during an interview the system has flaws. For example, their graduation rate was 100 percent, but the sample wasn’t big enough for half-point bonus in the state’s formula.

“If (your school) is large enough, you can gain,” Weitkamp said. “We will see this for many smaller schools.”

Also, the two noted, there are some flaws in the formula because it uses data that might be at least two years old in some cases and does not give a clear picture of what is happening right now.

But, the schools are looking toward improving, Weitkamp said.

Washington Catholic, the only private school in the area given grades by the state, received a B at the elementary school, but the high school received a C. Both schools had As in 2011.

WC principal Karie Craney was unavailable for comment due to illness.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Blessinger to move practice JASPER — Effective Oct. 1, Dr. Brian Blessinger will be transitioning his practice to the practice of Drs. Norris and Love at Norris & Love Orthopaedics & Sports. A native of Dubois County, Brian Blessinger, M.D. returned to the area to serve the reg

    August 22, 2014

  • German American announces promotions German American Bancorp, Inc. announces the promotions of five team members. These promotions reflect the company’s commitment to leadership development and the recognition of achievement and contributions to the company. Joe Dedman has been promoted

    August 22, 2014

  • Winefest2010.jpg Wine, Cheese and Art Festival to kick off Labor Day weekend Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau Director Samantha Bobbitt said this year’s Wine, Art and Cheese Festival should offer something for everyone, even those not interested in wine. Slated to run from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. next Frida

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports Briefs Hatchets defeat Barr-ReeveThe Washington junior high tennis team defeated Barr-Reeve 5-0 Thursday afternoon. John Rook defeated Gage Wilson 8-0 and Braden Kixmiller defeated Isaac Wagler 8-6. Zach Gray defeated Brycen Graber 8-2. Nate Napier won in s

    August 22, 2014

  • jonna 2 Williams wanting to help peers with hemophilia Looking at Jonna Williams, no one would guess the spunky Washington High School senior who drives dragsters, lifeguards and is active in the WHS Student Council has Von Willebrand Disease, an inherited condition that can cause bleeding for extended

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Thursday's police report CITY REPORT Thursday 2:15 p.m. - A caller at JayC Food Store, 20 Cherry Tree Plaza, reported a red pickup parked in the handicapped area with expired handicapped tags and a dog inside and the windows up. The owner of the vehicle was notified of the e

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS - WT082214 - Lents2 Lents honored at ISP awards ceremony INDIANAPOLIS — Two troopers from the Jasper District were honored recently at an awards ceremony at the Indiana Government Center. Sgt. Robert Gardner and Trooper Jarrod Lents were presented awards for their service to the state of Indiana. Trooper L

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sports Briefs Loogootee defeats RivetThe Loogootee boys tennis team defeated Vincennes Rivet, 5-0, Tuesday night. Gabe Nolley and Landon Diamond won in straight sets at No. 1 and 2 singles and Landon Wittmer won in No. 3 singles in a forfeit. Ben Templin-Thomas Vi

    August 21, 2014

  • zoeller Legal challenges perform check and balance Recently some have questioned why the State of Indiana has brought lawsuits against our federal government. While this litigation is adversarial by nature, it is a necessary part of our constitutional process.What distinguishes the U.S. Constitution

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - WT082114 - Gambling2 - NBS Gaming revenues rush over the border as Illinois expands virtual slots INDIANAPOLIS – Beer and barbecue aren’t the only draws to Daddy-O’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Paris, Ill., 15 miles from the Indiana border. The prospect of winning pulls in customers, as well. Since the neighborhood bar installed five video g

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos