I’m going to be making a series of posts looking over the metrics that the DPI has provided, and comparing Fall Creek to both the state as a whole, as well as to other individual districts, to see where we stack up, and to see where we do well, and where we don’t.
I will start this series by looking at the overall five main metrics provided by the DPI, and here is a refresher from my DPI page:
Overall Accountability Score – which is based upon a calculation derived from the other four scores
School/Student Achievement Score – students’ level of knowledge and skills attained compared against state academic standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics
School/Student Growth Score – how rapidly students are gaining knowledge and skills from year to year, focusing on the pace of improvement in students’ performance
School/Student Target Group Outcomes Score (known in previous years as the “Closing Gaps” Score) – outcomes for students with the lowest test scores in their school – the Target Group. Outcomes are displayed for achievement, growth, chronic absenteeism, and attendance or graduation rate
School/Student School On-Track (to Graduation) and Postsecondary Readiness Score – how successfully students are achieving educational milestones that predict later success
Fall Creek Elementary School
Conclusion – Overall, it appears that Fall Creek Elementary is doing fairly well, with the possible exception of the “hand-off” of students from one year to the next. We should consider how to better improve that and make that aspect of our children’s education a bit more stable.
Fall Creek Middle School
Conclusion – The Middle School has had a very hard time in the last decade with keeping its students’ education and skill levels from “slipping” from year to year, and has also in the recent past had troubles with getting students to the milestones necessary for successful graduation and being prepared for what lies beyond that. It has improved recently in saving “Target” students, and getting those students what they need to catch up to others, but we need the school to push past the “COVID dip”.
Fall Creek High School
Conclusion – Our High School is good at getting students graduated and ready for college, but we don’t have a lot of data to determine a whole lot else about it. I suspect that this lack of data is what has caused the school’s Overall Accountability to swing drastically and rapidly in both directions over the years. I hope that with the other two metrics starting to be collected, we’ll have a better picture in a few years’ time about where our high school stands in regards to other schools in the state.
Final Conclusions and Thoughts
After looking at the Prime Metrics, and comparing them to the State Averages, we can get a better picture of how well our schools are doing when compared to the 2600+ other schools in the state. By using the State Average as a baseline, it allows us to moderate the outliers at both the top and bottom of the list, to let us know much better just how we stack up in comparison to the rest of the state.
It appears that our Elementary School is doing a very good job at being consistently above average in most ways.
Our High School is good at getting our kids out of school at the end of their education, and pushing them to the next level of learning, but we don’t have enough information to really tell how well the intervening years are working, all we can see is the “final product” at the end.
The Middle School, however, is another story. It has had a rough and rocky time in the past decade, having troubles with both keeping student’s educational levels consistent and growing them over the years, as well as catching up low performers with their peers. Of most concern is the seeming downward trend of not being able to prepare our students for High School graduation and beyond, making the job of the High School that much harder to get our kids ready. However, it seems that things have improved in this area in recent years, so time will tell.
Out of all the schools, I think it would be in the District’s best interest to maintain the status quo for both the Elementary School (which has performed consistently well), and the High School (which we don’t have enough data for, so “stay the course”), and to focus any additional resources it may have on helping to pick up the Middle School’s “slack”, for the lack of a better word. After the Middle School has been “picked back up again”, then we can start talking about making a movement towards upwards mobility, and a push for academic excellence, for all of the schools in the District.
I don’t know about you, but I for one would like to see the Fall Creek School District become the BEST school district in the state. As it stands now, we’ve got a ways to go before we can attempt to get there. It’ll require a lot of work, focus, and some tough conversations, but if we want things to get better, those are the things that we’ll have to do.