Perry schools show explosive growth in academic progress

Iowa Department of Educaton releases new Iowa School Performance Profiles

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Students in Perry Community Schools are making academic progress at rates much higher than the state averages, according to data released Tuesday in the Iowa School Performance Profiles. Source: Iowa Department of Education

 

The Iowa Department of Education (DOE) released new online reports Tuesday showing how public schools performed in a new accountability system, and the Perry Community School District (PCSD) met its targets and showed tremendous rates of growth in academic progress.

The new reports, called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, include each school’s scores on a set of accountability measures. The reports display scores based on a school’s overall performance as well as the performance of subgroups of students, such as children from low-income backgrounds and students learning English.

Outcomes for Perry’s school system suggest the approach taken by the district’s teachers is working, and the students’ hard work is paying off.

“I am very proud of how our kids have grown,” PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks said. “We have seen growth from one test to the next, and it serves as proof of how hard our staff has worked and how well their instruction is being received.”

With 1,676 students in grades kindergarten through 12th, the PCSD lags only slightly behind the statewide averages in achievement and proficiency in reading and mathematics.

“We have said all along we can get more than one year of growth out of our kids in one year, and now we have a way of proving it,” said Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger. “I think people will be happy to see their children are receiving more than one year of growth in one year of time.”

Marburger said the profile numbers show the district’s faith in the Perry students was well placed.

“We’ve always told our kids, ‘Just give us your best, and we can live with that whatever the result might be,'” he said. “It’s clear the kids have done just that, and the results are even better than we might have hoped. We will be sharing with them what this means and that they should be proud of giving their best, because this report proves their hard work has been worth it.”

The statewide average in math achievement is 50 percent, and the PCSD’s rate is a respectable 48.17 percent. Similarly, the statewide average in reading achievement is 50 percent, and the PCSD’s rate is 48.09 percent.

Math proficiency averages 78.26 percent statewide and 74.6 percent in the Perry school system. In reading proficiency, Perry’s district-wide score of 70.99 percent trails the state average of 77.04 percent.

“There is so much to be proud of,” Wicks said. “Everyone can see the evidence that every Bluejay is receiving a great education at Perry!”

If Perry’s proficiency rates are lagging, students are making up for it in their rapid pace of academic growth, with the PCSD far exceeding the growyh rates of neighboring districts. According to the DOE performance profiles, growth is measured using Student Growth Percentiles (SGP), which describes a student’s growth compared to other students with similar prior test scores, that is, their academic peers. It also demonstrates a student’s growth and academic progress, even if she or he is not yet meeting the proficiency benchmark.

Perry Elementary School, with 717 students in grades kindergarten through fifth, received an overall score of 60.19 compared to the statewide average of 54.91 and significantly exceeded the state average of 50 in measured growth in reading and math and in progress toward the English Language Proficiency composite.

At Perry Elementary School, 57 percent of the students in reading and 69 percent of the students in math are increasing their achievement on the Iowa Assessment compared to their academic peers.

Perry Elementary School Principal Ned Menke said the ratings reveal a true community effort.

“Everyone can be proud about this report,” Menke said. “Our teachers can see that the hard work they have put in is making an impact, and the students and their parents can see that their investment in hard work is being recognized. There is so much here that is very rewarding, and the credit goes to all involved, I believe, because this really makes a statement about the quality of education offered at Perry schools.”

Perry Middle School, with 370 students in grades sixth through eighth, received an overall score of 56.07 compared to the statewide average of 54.91 and significantly exceeded the state average of 50 in measured growth in reading and math and in progress toward the English Language Proficiency composite.

At Perry Middle School, 59 percent of the students in reading and 55 percent of the students in math are increasing their achievement on the Iowa Assessment compared to their academic peers.

Perry High School, with 589 students in grades ninth through 12th, received an overall score of 58.83 compared to the statewide average of 54.91 and significantly exceeded the state average of 50 in in measured growth in reading and math and in progress toward the English Language Proficiency composite.

At Perry High School, 60 percent of the students in reading and 57 percent of the students in math are increasing their achievement on the Iowa Assessment compared to their academic peers.

The Iowa School Performance Profiles measured student learning in terms of participation rate, proficiency, growth, achievement (average scale score), English language progress and conditions for learning. The conditions for learning — a new metric this year — included student-student and adult-student relationships, physical and emotional safety and expectations/boundaries.

Of Iowa’s 367 school districts, the 2018 performance profiles identified 34 schools that need comprehensive improvement for all students and 307 that require targeted support for some student groups.

According to the Iowa DOE, the Iowa School Performance Profiles are different from the Iowa School Report Card, developed in 2015 to meet a state legislative requirement. In 2019 the Iowa DOE will update data in the Iowa School Report Card and then merge the site with the Iowa School Performance Profiles, with the goal of ensuring the state has one report card that meets both state and federal requirements.

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