The South Putnam School Corporation has seen its fair share of controversy this year along with undergoing some major changes, with Reelsville Elementary School closing. Through all the changes, the corporation managed to come out on top with improving its performance scores across the board.
The Indiana Department of Education released its 2012 school academic performance grades for all Indiana schools Wednesday, and South Putnam schools ranked among the highest in the county.
"We were thrilled about the hard work that was put in," said Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt. "We are very happy with the scores."
Central Elementary School along with South Putnam High School received A grades, both of which received a C grade in 2011. Fillmore Elementary School received a B grade, down from an A in 2011 along with Reelsville Elementary School receiving a D, down from an A rating in 2011.
"This is due to constant vigilance to making sure students are doing their best and teachers are using data to improve instruction in the classroom," explained Bernhardt. "Our plan is an ongoing one. Each school analyzes it to determine what areas we can improve upon."
In previous years, performance grades were given different labels such as exemplary progress, commendable progress, academic progress, academic watch and academic probation. Beginning with the 2010-11 school year the State Board of Education moved to easier-to-understand letter grades, which are now based on student performance on state testing, demonstrated growth in student learning, graduation rates, and college and career readiness. Each school in the district receives a rating based on the performance data of the students in that building.
The corporation itself conducts several other tests throughout the year in hopes of finding weak points that may need improvement.
"We also have ongoing data points throughout the year with other types of testing," explained Bernhardt. "It determines where students are throughout the year and helps us focus attention where it needs to be focused."
Although, Reelsville closed following the 2011-12 school year, the D rating is not due to the school being closed.
"Reelsville saw a tremendous amount of growth," said Bernhardt. "They were at an A and dropped back down to a D. Of course we closed it and several people have moved on. It's unfortunate that, that happened."
As many of the students and staff have now moved into Central Elementary along with South Putnam Middle School, the corporation plans on continuing to keep a close eye on the situation.
"Most of those students and teachers are integrated into Central Elementary," said Bernhardt. "We're watching close on how they're progressing throughout the year."
Although happy with the scores this time around, the corporation plans on continuing to improve each year.