Bloomfield Hills Schools Meet AYP; State Identifies New School Designations
Andover among 'focus' schools after Adequate Yearly Progress requirements show achievement gap.
The Bloomfield Hills Schools as a whole met state standards in math and reading in Adequate Yearly Progress reports released today by the Michigan Department of Education. However, the MDE's school report cards, showed three schools fit the 'Focus' category due to wide achievement gaps.
Commonly known as AYP, the rankings evaluate everything from MEAP scores in math and reading, overall attendance and school graduation rates. They are used to help keep more than 3,000 schools across the state accountable under the controversial No Child Left Behind legislation.
All three schools met AYP standards, and Conant and East Hills were rated in the top 95 percent in statewide ranking, while Andover was rated at 79 percent.
"Nothing has changed for us," Superintendent Rob Glass said today after he and key administrators got their first glimpse of the data. "This really is stuff we already knew, we knew that were was a wider disparity in some buildings but maybe the public didn't know that."
He encouraged students and parents to maintain perspective with these numbers, which are a new way for the public to help understand how schools are working. Specific plans to
Andover High School was notably marked as one of schools across the state that did not meet AYP standards last year. He said that designation, along with 79 percentile mark in this year's tests "does not reflect what I know about Andover," which graduated 12 National Merit Scholarship finalists last year and continues to have high test scores.
The only schools in Oakland County with the 'Priority' designation this year were in the Pontiac, Hazel Park, Oak Park and Southfield school districts, the data shows.
West Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills Middle School, Eastover Elementary School, and Way Elementary School were designated 'Reward' schools, meaning they finished in the top five percent of all Michigan schools in the annual top-to-bottom ranking.
“We applaud the hard work and achievement of the educators and students in our Reward Schools because they are zeroed in on improving learning,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan 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.”
The changes this year may not matter in the long run. Because of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver granted from the federal government, the state in 2012-2013 will no longer 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.
Many Districts Failing AYP
While the Bloomfield Hills Schools made the new designation, many across the state did not, according to the MDE.
That list includes surrounding districts, such as Berkley, Farmington West Bloomfield and Troy. In total, 262 districts (48 percent) statewide did not make AYP, compared to 37 (6.7 percent) last year, the data shows. 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 MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) and MME (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 really tries to 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.
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.
Conant and Andover received the highest grade in the district, an "A," while East Hills received a "B."
Glass said the data will be useful and could help key strategies to shorten achievement gaps that are already in place. The district, as a whole, is intent on identifying those students that aren't meeting achievement goals and find ways to engage them and personalize the learning experience to improve the outcome, he said.
The data also can help them spot any patterns in the current curriculum that shows instruction isn't meeting a student's needs.
New School Designations
While AYP was designed to measure student achievement as required by the federal NCLB, the waiver, received last month, frees Michigan from following some of the NCLB rules.
As a result of the waiver, 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.
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 Brighton.
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 who in the past would be considered high-achieving. The schools are now charged with bridging the gap.
“We are committed to closing the achievement gaps in all of our schools for all of our students,” Flanagan said in the release. “With this measure of transparency, schools will be identified and held accountable for the achievement of all of their students.”