BRIGHTON — School District 27J continues to receive good news as a result of its state testing. The initial school performance frameworks released by the State Department of Education have Superintendent Chris Fiedler excited about the district’s successes.
The preliminary results show 15 of the district’s 22 schools are rated with a performance plan, a rating that means the schools meets or exceed the achievement goals set by the state.
School performance frameworks are essentially a report card for the district and its individual schools. Peggy Robertson, the district’s Director of Organizational Management, said the frameworks hold them accountable for performance on the same set of indicators and measures. She said those indicators and measures include academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps and for high schools, post secondary and workforce readiness.
Fiedler said 63 percent of the district’s schools have been rated with a performance plan, up from 38 percent in 2010, which means these are the best numbers the district has ever put forward on its performance frameworks. He also said two particular achievements stand out to him.
“First and foremost the two comprehensive high schools — both Brighton and Prairie View — have moved from improvement to performance, and that’s a first since we’ve gone to the performance frameworks with the state, so we’re really excited about that,” he said. “The other big news... is we had four schools last year that were on priority improvement and each of those four schools have moved up this year, which, of course, is a turn in the right direction.”
According to the results, seven of the district’s schools moved up in their ratings. Schools that moved from priority improvement to improvement include North Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Second Creek Elementary and Overland Trail Middle School and schools that moved from improvement to performance include Bromley East Charter School, Brighton High School and Prairie View High School.
Despite the improvements, three of the district’s middle schools dropped in their ratings. Prairie View Middle School, Stuart Middle School and Vikan Middle School slipped from improvement to priority improvement. Robertson said the five year time clock to improve the school’s ratings will start next fall, however, administrators don’t expect them to remain in the same category next fall as the district has had success in bringing schools out of priority improvement.
“Overland Trail was in priority improvement last year and really worked on those things within the school performance framework that showed there was a need and they’re back up; they’re almost at performance this year,” she said.
Fiedler said the district is sorry to see three of its middle schools that were at improvement slip to priority improvement but that they came very close to the cut. He believes the solution is quality instruction for every student in the district as well as having great teachers.
“We’re feeling good about things but...as far a solution for middle school, we’ll just continue to actualize on the thinking classroom,” he said.” Principals continue to be charged with being in classrooms, monitoring student’s learning, observing teacher practices and giving their feedback – that’s the plan.”
The district is expected to be accredited at an improvement plan overall. Robertson said she anticipates it taking a couple of years before the district reaches the accredited level.
“We’re accredited with an improvement plan now, which means we’re okay but we need to get better. I imagine it will take a couple of years to get up to the next level,” she said, adding the district is looking for incremental progress that improve over time rather than scores that go up for a year and then decrease.
The results will not be final until they are approved by the school board during a future board meeting.