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The Lake News Online
  • Making the grade: School scores mixed on annual report

  • Compared to 2013 scores, area schools saw a mixed bag of results on the state's Annual Performance Report (APR) in 2014, with about half of the schools receiving lower scores and half with the same or improved scores.
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  • Compared to 2013 scores, area schools saw a mixed bag of results on the state's Annual Performance Report (APR) in 2014, with about half of the schools receiving lower scores and half with the same or improved scores.
    Those results translated on a larger scale, with Camdenton R-III and School of the Osage receiving slightly lower scores as districts, while Eldon R-I and Morgan County R-II saw their scores slightly increase from a year ago. Macks Creek R-V proved the outlier, with a dramatic increase in score from last year. Despite mixed news for some districts and schools, all of the five immediate lake-area districts scored above 90 percent in the 2013-2014 school year — well above the mark for accreditation.
    The fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5) took effect last year after after the state Board of Education approved the program in December 2011. Instead of a 14-point checklist, school districts are given a percentage point grade, similar to a report card, that makes finer distinctions in five specific areas of evaluation.
    The APR gives districts an itemized report detailing the success of the district in five performance standards: academic achievement (Missouri Assessment Program [MAP] scores), subgroup achievement (Academic performance for students in identified subgroups including free/reduced price lunch students, racial/ethnic background students, English language learners, students with disabilities), college and career readiness, attendance rate and graduation rate.
    The evaluation provides more detailed distinctions on the performance of the district compared to the fourth cycle of MSIP — implemented between the 2006-2007 and 2011-2012 school years. Instead of receiving 'met' or 'not met' on evaluation criteria, districts are awarded points based on performance.
    Rather than creating a black and white report, the MSIP 5 APR shows degrees of success and improvement. Most districts can earn up to 140 points on MSIP 5's APR, which are then calculated into a percentage grade.
    While most area education officials agree that APRs can provide at least a basis for a district's performance, they say it is but one measure of the success of a school district.
    "We also believe our district provides educational opportunities for our students that cannot be measured by MSIP," Camdenton R-III Superintendent Tim Hadfield said.
    Eldon R-I Superintendent Matt Davis echoed that sentiment.
    "We have great things happening for our students on a daily basis. This past year we received a $500,000 to improve wellness for our students, we won districts in Football, Baseball, and Scholar Bowl.  We were conference champions in Girl’s Track, we had three SkillsUSA teams place second in the Nation, FFA won State in Parliamentary Procedure..." Davis said. "Those results speak for themselves on the great things that are happening in the Eldon School District."
    Page 2 of 4 - Camdenton R-III
    As a district, Camdenton R-III fell to 93.9 in 2014 from 96.8 in 2013. Most of the changes came from lower MAP scores, particularly in social studies. Despite that, Superintendent Tim Hadfield seemed pleased with the score.
    "Scoring over the 90 percent mark is quite an achievement and our students, staff, and parents should be congratulated on their hard work," he said.
    He attributed lower MAP scores to a statewide dip in MAP averages. Hawthorn Elementary and Oak Ridge Intermediate, both of which had perfect scores in 2013, scored slightly lower on standardized testing.
    While none of the schools scored perfectly this year, both Dogwood Elementary and Hurricane Deck Elementary vastly improved their scores, mostly thanks to improved attendance scores.
    "We still have room to improve, but our buildings have also put into place plans to help increase our attendance rate," Hadfield said.
    Eldon R-I
    Eldon R-I Superintendent Matt Davis said he's happy with the slight improvement to a 92.1 percent score from 91.8 from last year.
    There were several fluctuations in MAP scores from 2013 to 2014 that contributed to the slight rise.
    "We believe that when you compare our student achievement with our student demographics we have a very high scoring school district," Davis said.
    Eldon Middle School saw a ten percent improvement with higher MAP scores and a better attendance rate.
    At 59 percent, Eldon South Elementary did not see any improvement, with relatively low MAP testing scores in English and Math.
    Macks Creek R-V
    One of the biggest success stories in Missouri is in the tiny Macks Creek R-V School District. The district went from a good score of 87.9 in 2013 to an excellent score of 96.8 in 2014.
    "I am excited and encouraged," Superintendent Josh Phillips said of the district's scores. "It took the entire school community coming together."
    The district saw an increase in almost every area of evaluation, but particularly in the area of college and career readiness.
    Macks Creek High School scored a 98.2 percent, one of the highest in the state, up from 88.6 percent in 2013.
     
    Morgan County R-II
    The Morgan County R-II, Versailles, School District received a solid score in its annual performance report though it saw little progress above last year.
    "The higher you get towards 100 percent the less room for growth there is," Superintendent Dr. Joyce Ryerson said. "But any positive growth we are very pleased with."
    The area of the APR the school is happiest with is college and career readiness, she said. Under the new system, that's not just related to the ACT and dual credit courses but also now the ASVAB — Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
    Page 3 of 4 - Attendance is also an area where the district has not scored as strongly despite having an overall average daily attendance of 94 percent, said Ryerson.
    Under MSIP 5, attendance is scored differently, setup to look at the attendance of each individual student. To be a recognized high performing district by the state, the school needs 90 percent of kids to have an attendance rate of 90 percent or better. And while the average attendance is 94 percent, there are a small group of students who tend to miss often — enough that the district hasn't been able to pull above the bar in that category.
    With an enrollment of approximately 1,400 district-wide, there are around 140 students missing 17 days or more though the rest of the student body makes up for it with really high attendance rates. The students who are missing a high rate of school days are more likely to live in lower socioeconomic homes, according to Ryerson, and more than 65 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
    Yet despite the attendance issues, the school has continued to score well academically measured by state standardized tests.
    While there was little change in the district's APR from last year to this year, staff will continue to try to come up with strategies to improve issues highlighted by results including attendance.
    "There's only so much you can do to make sure kids are here. We're limited in how much influence we have, but we will continue working with parents to try to strengthen relationships," Ryerson said.
    Of note, South Elementary School saw a 20 point improvement on its score this year. But because it only serves students up to second grade, there's only one area of evaluation: attendance. The school received eight out of ten in 2014, compared to six out of ten in 2013.
    School of the Osage
    One of the highest scoring district in the state last year, Osage saw a slight decrease from 97.5 to 95.4.
    “It’s still a very high percentage,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Laura Nelson noted. “It’s not an accident that we did so well, and the results show the hard work of our teachers, students and support of our parents.”
    While maintaining near perfect MAP scores, the district received fewer points in placement in post-secondary education or the military after high school.
    Nelson said two problem areas have been identified and are being addressed:
    •High school government, a semester course
    •The percentage of graduates who attend post-secondary education/training, or who are in the military within six months; and the percentage of graduates who complete career education programs within six months.
    Page 4 of 4 - More than 97 percent of districts statewide earned at least 70 percent of possible points. In all, 56.6 percent of districts raised their APR scores from 2013.
     
    Lake Media’s Eric Dundon, Dan Field, Spree Hilliard and Amy Wilson contributed to this report.

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