Rockford Public Schools this year launched a school-specific accountability tool called a School Scorecard. Each school's performance scorecard will provide a comprehensive picture of its students' growth and achievement through metrics – such as how student achievement aligns to federal and state standards and how much progress is made on a yearly basis. The scorecard will illustrate school-specific progress that can be broken down to an individual student, class, grade level and subject area. Each school's goals will align with the district's goals, and principals will have support to ensure their individual school goals are attainable. The Scorecard is comprised of three sections: Student achievement (70 percent), climate and culture (20 percent), and continuous improvement (10 percent).
Administrators are working through student achievement data from the PARCC exam through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, released today. Data is from the 2017-18 school year. They're outlining school-specific plans to prioritize growth and achievement. RPS 205 officials agree that the results from the Illinois Report Card are largely unacceptable. "Our ultimate success as a district should come from the collective success of 44 schools," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. "Rather than a districtwide approach to move 44 schools, we are providing goal-setting support at the school level to ensure each team of teachers and their goals align to achieve results."
District leaders will monitor school-based progress at least three times each year. In some metrics, that progress will be monitored as often as once each week. The goal is to identify gaps and address them immediately, instead of waiting until summative data is released.
Measuring Growth: RPS 205 schools make up some of the highest and lowest achievement scores in the state. Each school's scorecard will include school-specific goals, including whether students make at least one year's-worth of progress during the academic year. In many cases, that's a better – and more attainable – goal than reaching the state average. "If all we do is evaluate how far from the state average our schools are, we have simply sorted our schools largely based on socioeconomic status," Jarrett said. "We will celebrate schools that make more than annual progress toward that goal, and we will provide local, state and federal resources to help them do that."
Designation summary: Schools across the state received one of four tier designations from the Illinois State Board of Education: Exemplary, Commendable, Underperforming and Lowest-Performing. Thirteen RPS 205 schools received the Commendable designation: Guilford and Jefferson high schools; Gifted Academy at Thurgood Marshall School (grades 5-8); Two-Way Language Immersion at Barbour (grades K-8); Brookview, Carlson, Cherry Valley, Froberg, Gregory and Whitehead elementary schools; Gifted Academy at Thurgood Marshall Elementary (grades 1-4); Maria Montessori at Marsh (grades prekindergarten-8), and Legacy Academy of Excellence Charter School. Approximately 70 percent of schools statewide receive this designation.
In RPS 205, 12 schools received the designation of Underperforming. That means, according to the Illinois State Board of Education, that most students are performing well, but one or more student subgroups is underperforming or performing at a lower level. A subgroup at a school could be, for example, a group of 20 or more students who are English-language learners, students with disabilities, identified by race/ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status. About 15 percent of schools receive that designation of Underperforming statewide.
The Lowest-Performing designation identifies the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state. Sixteen RPS 205 schools received that designation. No RPS 205 schools received an Exemplary designation – a status reserved for the highest-performing 10 percent of schools across the state.
Highlights from the 2018 Illinois Report Card:
- Graduation rates continue to rise at Guilford and Jefferson high schools:
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- The district's rate for eighth graders passing algebra is at a four-year high: 28 percent, compared to the state average of 30.6 percent.
- The district's dropout rate is at a five-year low: The rate was 8 percent in 2015, 7 percent in 2016 and 2017, and is down to 6 percent in 2018.
- RPS 205 is aligned with the state trend this year of having the highest percentage of students enrolling in college since Illinois began reporting the metric in 2014. In RPS 205, 57 percent of graduates enrolled in post-secondary education – the highest level in five years.
Media availability: Media are invited at 11 a.m. today (Wednesday, Oct. 31) for interviews with Superintendent Ehren Jarrett, Executive Director of Academics Heidi Dettman, and School Board President Ken Scrivano on the 2018 Illinois Report Card.