Report cards out for local schoolsThe Superior school district felt a mixture of satisfaction and frustration this week with the release of the 2012-13 school report cards. The Department of Public Instruction released the annual report cards Tuesday.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Superior school district felt a mixture of satisfaction and frustration this week with the release of the 2012-13 school report cards.
The Department of Public Instruction released the annual report cards Tuesday.
Six of the eight schools in the Superior school district received higher scores than last year, and Cooper and Four Corners elementary schools both joined Lake Superior Elementary School as schools that exceeded expectations.
Superior High School once again fell in the “meets few expectations” category.
Statewide, 1,910 schools received accountability ratings, with “significantly exceeds expectations” as the highest level and “fails to meet expectations” as the lowest. The majority of schools (1,401) received the same rating as last year.
SHS fell among 169 schools that met few expectations.
“I think it’s very unfair. I don’t think it’s accurate,” said Kent Bergum, SHS principal. “I understand the intentions of accountability — and I actually think we need to be accountable. I don’t have any problem with that — but I don’t think it’s a good message for the kids who are attending Superior High School to hear from a state level that we’re a ‘failing school.’”
Schools falling into the two lowest categories were termed “failing schools” in February when the school report cards were tied to eligibility for the Parental Choice voucher program. The term was repeated frequently as legislators debated how to expand the voucher program.
“It was hard to listen to last year because that’s the first time that kind of language has been thrown at us,” Bergum said.
Like last year, SHS was hit with a five-point deduction on its report card for failing to meet one of the student engagement indicators. Statewide, only five percent of schools receiving a score faced a deduction this year.
With the deduction, Superior High School received a score of 60.8. Schools must score between 72.9 and 63 to receive a “meets expectations” rating.
“I will be honest, I’ve shared with my staff that I think this is illogical and completely unacceptable,” said Janna Stevens, Superior superintendent.
Last year, the high school was docked five points for failing to meet the absenteeism rate goal. This year it did, but fell short of the cutoff for test participation.
Test participation is measured overall and by subgroup. Each cohort must have a participation rate of at least 95 percent for the current year or the three-year average.
Superior fell below the mark for its students with disabilities. They had a 94.2 percent participation rate for the three-year average and a 93.3 percent rate for the current year.
“Those percentages are so small it equates to one student at the 94.2 and two students at the 93.3,” Stevens said. “So what that’s telling me is two students in our 10th grade were not tested, and we lost five points as an entire school. We have approximately 1,400 kids at our high school, and because two of the kids didn’t take a test we lose five points and go down to meeting few expectations.
“If anybody out there is logical, they have to say this doesn’t make any sense. Because it doesn’t.”
According to data from the Department of Instruction, only four special education students at Superior High School failed to participate in testing for 2012-13. One student, Stevens said, was excused upon a parent’s request.
The district had an opportunity to appeal the high school’s score in July. Stevens made two appeals and called the office of State Superintendent Tony Evers.
Neither attempt was successful.
“It just feels like a slap in the face,” Stevens said. “I just wish that logic could have prevailed.”
“I think the real issue is the nature the report card has taken on and then the labeling of schools,” Bergum said.
He feels that, despite the report card rating, SHS provides students with a quality education.
“I think that five point deduction really is a misrepresentation of what is going on at the high school,” Bergum said. “I think the important piece is accountability, but I think the other standardized tests that we see, such as the ACT and the Advanced Placement scores, they really showed a different picture for us.”
Superior High School surpassed the state average in all categories on the ACT in 2013, and the school has also seen a jump in the number of students earning college credit for AP courses.
Neither item factors heavily on the school report cards.
2012-13 Report Cards
Bryant 72.9 Meets Expectations
Cooper 75.6 Exceeds Expectations
Four Corners 73.7 Exceeds Expectations
Great Lakes 70.4 Meets Expectations
Lake Superior 75.1 Exceeds Expectations
Northern Lights 69.8 Meets Expectations
Superior Middle School 67.7 Meets Expectations
Superior High School 60.8 Meets Few Expectations
2011-12 Report Cards
Bryant 70.6 Meets Expectations
Cooper 67.7 Meets Expectations
Four Corners 71.2 Meets Expectations
Great Lakes 70.2 Meets Expectations
Lake Superior 79.3 Exceeds Expectations
Northern Lights 68.0 Meets Expectations
Superior Middle School 62.4 Meets Few Expectations
Superior High School 62.9 Meets Few Expectations
Every school in the Maple school district improved its score from 2011-12, and all four schools received passing scores.
“No issues this year,” Greg Blair, director of curriculum.
Last year, the district was forced to appeal its score for Northwestern High School. The school initially received a five-point deduction for high absenteeism, but Blair filed an appeal with the Department of Public Instruction. Maple’s attendance data had been recorded improperly by the state, grossly inflating the absenteeism rate.
“It was just one of those glitches in the system,” Blair said. “I’m glad the state worked with us to rectify that.”
The district spent about a month correcting the issue last year. Much to Blair’s relief, the work seems to have carried over.
“That was the first thing we looked at,” Blair said, and the attendance data was accurate this year.
Every school in the Maple district improved its score from 2011-12.
Northwestern Elementary School made the greatest gains, going from 66.7 last year to 76.4 this year. The school’s score for 2012-13 puts it into the “exceeds expectations” category.
Maple’s other three schools improved their scores but remained at the “meets expectations” level. Northwestern Middle School fell just one-tenth of a point below the “exceeds expectations” level.
“Overall, I think we did very well,” Blair said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I’m happy with our scores.”
Blair said teachers and students have been working hard, and the district has made greater efforts to utilize data from the report cards.
“We’ve done a lot more digging into things, more analyzing of scores,” Blair said.
2012-13 Report Cards
Iron River Elementary 69.0 Meets Expectations
Northwestern Elementary 76.4 Exceeds Expectations
Northwestern High School 72.1 Meets Expectations
Northwestern Middle School 72.9 Meets Expectations
2011-12 Report Cards
Iron River 66.9 Meets Expectations
Northwestern Elementary 66.7 Meets Expectations
Northwestern High School 67.2 Meets Expectations
Northwestern Middle School 72.4 Meets Expectations
Northwood and Solon Springs
Solon Springs and Northwood both received passing marks for 2012-13. Northwood received a score of 69.3, up from 63.4 last year.
Solon Springs narrowly missed the “exceeds expectations” rating. The school was three-tenths of a point below the cutoff with a score of 72.7. Solon Springs received a score of 63.1 for 2011-12.