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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cloverdale Schools see small improvement in school grades

Saturday, November 3, 2012

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale School Corporation recently saw some improvement in its schools' academic performance grades, which the Indiana Department of Education released Wednesday.

Both the high school and the middle school maintained their C grades, while Clover-dale Elementary School actually raised its grade from a D to a C.

Although, two out of three schools remained the same grade, it should be noted that moving up from a D to a C is something to celebrate.

"We are, of course, trying to improve our C and move on up to an A," Superintendent Carrie Milner said. "I do believe there are problems that have been generated with assessments like this. Labeling a school rather than spending the time and funds developing an individual growth model. You'll see a lot of variation. They are good schools that vary from one year to the next and it's difficult to understand how a school goes from an F to a C to an A over a period."

Letter grades were recently enacted in the 2010-11 school year. They are based on student performance on state testing, demonstrated growth in student learning, graduation rates and college and career readiness. Each school in a district receives a letter grade rating based on the performance data of all students.

Milner however had nothing but good things to say about the corporation's success and working toward improving all of the school's grades in the future.

"We strive to see success for everyone," Milner explained. "We will continue to make every effort to see that our students and staff move to that improvement."

As it stands now, all of the schools are in the 2.25-point range, which is moving toward the B grade as it continues to analyze data and focus on the individual needs of its students.

Cloverdale Elementary School and Clover-dale Middle School are two to watch in the upcoming years as they continue to improve performance scores, particularly the elementary school, which was able to raise its grade from a D to a C this year.

"We are seeing growth. However, as with any change you're going to have some challenges there," Principal Stacey Baugh said. "We are working to help teachers along with our students to make a better effort to improve their scores."

In the elementary school in particular, scores are determined by the growth of those going from third grade to fourth grade.

"Our fourth grade teachers carry most of the weight for our children," said Baugh. "So, all the accountability for that is on their shoulders and we understand the stresses they are going through and we feel like we are making strides at improving."

Several changes have been made in the middle school as well, which include adding labs along with flexible grouping.

"We've made some changes with flexible grouping and with some labs to intensify the interventions for some of our students that kind of double dip," Baugh said. "We are making a better effort in increasing those scores. Next year we hope to be at an A or a B. Those are our goals."

Baugh noted that many of the scores were "pass plus," but there was not enough growth to make it count.

"We are pleased with our growth, but we are not satisfied with our grades," she explained. "We will continue to work hard to increase those."

Cloverdale High School, for one, is already on the road to performance grade improvement as it recently has enacted such programs as night school to help with graduation rates.

"Looking at what we started with and the direction we're headed, we knew we were right in the ballpark of a C," explained Principal Sonny Stoltz. "We started a program a couple years ago and we'll see the effects of these improvements there in the next couple years."

The high school has already identified areas for growth such as language arts and math. Although, the school saw a 15 percent increase in its language arts score, it is still not up to the standards it would like.

"We're doing some things better, but they are still not where they need to be," said Stoltz. "We're still not in that 80 percent range yet, but we are getting there."

Stoltz is extremely confident that within the next year or two the high school's performance score will increase as the school continues to see success with its new programs and direction.

"We know we are going in the right direction," Stoltz said. "It's been pretty consistent. We're happy to have a C."

As of now, the corporation will continue its efforts to keep improving with each year. It has already made several changes in hopes of refocusing the school's direction, which will hopefully do nothing but help raise its performance grades.

"We are relying on the data of course," Milner said. "We are using the data to refocus our direction with the end goal of success for all of our students."

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