UPDATED: Burton, Pattengill Receive Top Ranking on School Report Cards from State
But, because Adequate Yearly Progress now has more stringent requirements, the Berkley School District failed to meet the mark, even though a majority of its schools did.
Today the Michigan Department of Education released its school report cards for the 2011-2012 year, which include the list of schools meeting state standards through Adequate Yearly Progress. Among the most successful were Burton Elementary School in Huntington Woods and Pattengill Elementary School in Berkley.
Both are listed as "reward schools" – a new designation by the state – meaning they are in the top five percent of schools in Michigan and have made significant gains in academic progress during recent years.
Burton was ranked in the 97th percentile statewide and Pattengill was ranked in the 95th percentile, according to the MDE. Both schools are part of the Berkley School District.
"We applaud the hard work and achievement of the educators and students in our Reward Schools because they are zeroed in on improving learning," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said in a press release. "We need to instill that goal in so many more schools, in order to help all kids be career and college-ready and successful in life."
Berkley among districts failing AYP
While most schools in the district passed AYP, the Berkley School District as a whole did not, according to the MDE.
It is among a surprising list of southeast Michigan school districts that have gone from a passing AYP designation a year ago to failing today. In total, 262 districts (48 percent) statewide did not make AYP, compared to 37 (6.7 percent) last year. At the school building level, 82 percent of schools made AYP across the state, compared to 79 percent last year.
The increase of schools not making AYP is due in part to the more rigorous career and college-ready cut scores now used on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Exam tests. In addition, the state now factors graduation rates for all students into the calculations and also now includes the achievement of certain student populations who previously may have not been counted.
In the past, districts only needed to meet AYP targets at one of three levels – elementary, middle and high school. Now, they are required to meet them at all three.
Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman for the MDE, said this year's designations put a focus on the achievement gaps between students and highlight the need for all students to achieve success.
"The goal is to have all students proficient, not just some," she said, adding that in the past there was the ability to mask poor student performance because the focus was on those students who were doing really well.
The only school within the Berkley district to not make AYP was Berkley High School, which was ranked in the 41st percentile statewide.
"Four students in two subgroups did not take the MME/ACT exam, BSD Superintendent Dennis McDavid said in a press release. "That means the mandated 95% of students in every subgroup did not test and therefore BHS did not achieve AYP."
The two subgroups were students with disabilities on the math portion of the exam and economically disadvantaged students, also on the math portion, BSD Communications Supervisor Jessica Stilger said.
The remaining schools in the district received the following statewide rankings:
- Norup International School, 46th percentile
- Anderson Middle School, 52nd percentile
- Rogers Elementary School, 87th percentile
- Angell Elementary School, 87the percentile
Tri-County Educational Center in Southfield, in which the Berkley School District participates, did not receive a grade.
"A lot of what was released is good news for our schools," McDavid said. "We aren't pleased with some of the results and recognize we have work to do to address the needs of all our students. Keep in mind that the measures released today are based on one high stakes test (MEAP/MME), and aren’t necessarily a comprehensive reflection of the excellent teaching and learning that happens in our classrooms.
"BHS students improved in every academic subject from last year to this year except Social Studies, and all subgroups achieved state proficiency in all subjects," he continued. "We know that our teachers and students are excellent and that BHS wouldn’t be recognized by Newsweek and The Washington Post as an outstanding high school without evidence of great things happening in the building."
Another measure of performance on the report cards is the Education Yes! grade, which is based on student achievement, achievement growth and self-assessments from schools.
Burton and Pattengill received the highest grades in the district, an "A," while BHS received the lowest grade in the district, a "D."
New school designations
While AYP was designed to measure student achievement as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a waiver, received last month from the federal government, frees Michigan from following some of the NCLB rules.
As a result, the MDE has identified three new school designations: reward schools, priority schools and focus schools. Not every school fits into one of these categories.
Reward Schools: The top five percent of all Michigan schools in the annual top-to-bottom ranking and the top five percent making the greatest academic progress over the past four years. Burton and Pattengill fell into this group.
Priority Schools: Previously called persistently lowest achieving schools, these are now identified as those in the bottom five percent of the annual top-to-bottom ranking and any high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years. There were 146 priority schools identified this year. These schools will be required to come up with a plan to improve. None of them are in the Berkley School District.
Focus Schools: The 10 percent of schools with the widest achievement gaps, meaning the academic disparity between the top 30 percent of students and the bottom 30 percent. That list includes 358 schools, many that in the past would be considered high-achieving. The schools are now charged with bridging the gap. BHS and Norup fell into this category.
"The Berkley Schools place focus on addressing the needs of all learners, and we will continue to do so," McDavid said. "This designation for Norup and BHS means we will take an even deeper look at student data and differentiated learning to support our lowest achieving students while continuing to challenge our highest achieving students."
Because of the No Child Left Behind waiver granted by the federal government, the state in 2012-2013 no longer will be measuring districts based on AYP. Starting next year, school districts will receive accountability scorecards that use five different colors to recognize varying levels of achievement and accountability for each school and district.