Springfield Middle earns 'strong' grade.Byline: Anne Williams The Register-Guard
SPRINGFIELD - Three years ago, staff members at Springfield Middle School were lamenting an especially poor showing on state achievement tests by the previous year's eighth-graders and strategizing how to do better.
On Wednesday, they were celebrating a distinction earned by no other middle school in Springfield this year: A "strong" rating on their annual state report card, the second-highest rating a school can get.
"I heard from a couple of teachers and they're very excited," said Principal Jeff Mather, who shared the news with staff and students in his morning announcements. "I'm kind of trying to downplay down·play
tr.v. down·played, down·play·ing, down·plays
To minimize the significance of; play down: downplayed the bad news.
Verb 1. it and not say that it's the be-all, end-all, but it is an indicator. You don't get a strong rating unless you have made a lot of improvement."
As required by a 1999 law, the state Department of Education released report card ratings for 1,066 schools on Wednesday, along with the final ratings under the separate federal accountability system mandated by the No Child Left Behind law.
Test participation counts
The state report cards rate schools on a five-point scale ranging from "unacceptable" to "exceptional," using test scores, test participation, academic improvement, attendance and graduation Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. The event itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. rates as criteria.
More schools earned "exceptional" or "strong" ratings: 527 in 2004-05 compared with 490 the previous year.
Just 31 were labeled "low" or unacceptable."
One of those was North Eugene High School North Eugene High School is a public high school of about 1,200 students in Eugene, Oregon, United States. It is located at 200 Silver Lane near the Santa Clara area of Eugene. North Eugene's mascot is the Highlander. , which got the first-ever "low" rating of any Eugene or Springfield high school Springfield High School may refer to:
But it wasn't lousy lous·y
adj. lous·i·er, lous·i·est
1. Infested with lice.
2. Extremely contemptible; nasty: a lousy trick.
3. test scores that sunk North, Principal Peter Tromba said.
"We actually went up in all of the academic categories," he explained, "but what happened was basically through a miscommunication mis·com·mu·ni·ca·tion
1. Lack of clear or adequate communication.
2. An unclear or inadequate communication. , we had a big group of students" - an entire sophomore English class of 35 - "who never took the writing test."
The rating system is merciless on participation. If any school fails to give fewer than 94.5 percent of students any one of three tests, it can receive no higher than a "low." At North, 93.5 percent took the writing test.
"As crazy as that is, and as much as this hurts us, I agree with it," said Tromba, who believes testing every student is the only way to hold schools accountable and boost achievement across the board.
Improvement plans required
State law requires all schools that get a "low" or "unacceptable" rating to complete an improvement plan. The stakes are much higher for schools that repeatedly fall short under the federal system, although only for high-poverty schools receiving federal Title I dollars. They face escalating consequences each year, such as having to offer students transportation to another school or, eventually, to restructure themselves.
The criteria are similar to the state's, but the federal law holds schools accountable not just for overall performance but also for test scores among racial and ethnic subgroups, as well as students who are low-income, disabled or not proficient pro·fi·cient
Having or marked by an advanced degree of competence, as in an art, vocation, profession, or branch of learning.
An expert; an adept. in English.
Whether a school misses in a single area or a dozen, it fails to make "AYP AYP Adequate Yearly Progress (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
AYP Anarchist Yellow Pages
AYP American Youth Philharmonic ," or adequate yearly progress Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, is a measurement defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically. . In the final report released Wednesday, 388 Oregon schools - 32.4 percent - missed AYP. A preliminary report released in August identified 377.
A few of those initial designations flip-flopped after appeals from individual schools - including Springfield Middle School, a Title I school. Principal Mather explained that the school's initial attendance data was incorrect.
Commitment makes difference
There is often a strong correlation between poverty and low test scores, and that has historically been the case at Springfield Middle School, where close to 80 percent of the students qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.
Mather attributed the turnaround Turnaround
A situation where a company that has had poor performance for an extended period of time experiences a positive reversal.
A speculator may profit from a turnaround if he or she accurately anticipates the improvement of a poorly performing company. to a committed staff, focused teacher training and increased student engagement through the 1-to-1 Laptop Same as laptop computer.
laptop - portable computer Initiative, an eight-month-old partnership with Apple Computer that places Apple iBooks in the hands of every student.
They use the laptops in nearly every class, Mather said, and are allowed to take them home - so long as they maintain good attendance and don't abuse the machines.
Students also were able to take most of the state tests on their laptops, thanks to the state's Technology Enhanced Student Assessment program.
"We think that's really helped," he said.
In Diane Mattison's seventh-grade language arts language arts
The subjects, including reading, spelling, and composition, aimed at developing reading and writing skills, usually taught in elementary and secondary school. class on Wednesday, students were practicing for the state writing test on their laptops, choosing one of three types of short essays to write and editing each other's work.
Sara Beers and Kayla Gessford said they love their laptops, and sang the praises of the World Book Web site, the spell-check and a program called Inspiration that helps them create outlines for their essays.
"Plus there's a lot of little things to have fun with, like they have chess in there," Gessford added.
Mattison said the laptops are indeed useful tools, but she believes other factors had more to do with the school's success.
"I think the laptops are a piece of it, but I also think we as a staff have been working very hard to improve those scores," she said. "This is a very dedicated staff."
These schools either had not yet been rated or had been rated wrong on the preliminary list of which schools made "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110), commonly known as NCLB (IPA: /ˈnɪkəlbiː/), is a United States federal law that was passed in the House of Representatives on May 23, 2001 :
Opportunity Center, Eugene: Not met
Springfield Middle School: Met
Pleasant Hill High School: Met
Pleasant Hill Junior High School: Met
Pleasant Hill Elementary School elementary school: see school. : Met
Trent Primary School, Pleasant Hill: Met
Oaklea Middle School, Junction City Junction City, city (1990 pop. 20,604), seat of Geary co., NE Kans., at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers; inc. 1859. The rail, trade, and processing center of an agricultural and dairy area, it grew as the supply point for nearby Fort Riley, : Met
Territorial Elementary School, Junction City: Met
West Lane Technology Learning Center, Fern Ridge: Not met
Creswell High School: Met
Triangle Lake School, Blachly: Met
Resource Link Charter School, Coos Bay Coos Bay (ks), city (1990 pop. 15,076), Coos co., SW Oreg., a port of entry on Coos Bay; founded 1854 as Marshfield, inc. 1874, renamed 1944. : Not met
Harrisburg Elementary School: Met
Yoncalla High School: Met