CCPRI scores im­prove

Polk County schools post higher in­dex fig­ures for aca­demic progress.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick SJ Edi­tor

Small but steady in­creases con­tinue for the Polk School Dis­trict this year af­ter the state re­leased their Col­lege and Ca- reer Ready Per­for­mance In­dex fig­ures for 2017 to start off Novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the state on Nov. 2, PSD’s to­tal score this year is a 74.9, up 5.6 points from 2016’s over­all fig­ure of 69.3.

What does that all mean? In sim­plest terms, that the state is rec­og­niz­ing that Polk School Dis­trict is mak­ing im­prove­ments an­nu­ally in or­der to help stu­dents suc­ceed while in class­rooms lo­cally, and when they grad­u­ate and go out into the real world.

It’s a good tool to help school dis­tricts gauge ar­eas where they need to pay more at­ten­tion and pro­vide fo­cus on,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Lau­rie Atkins said. “It acts as a good guide for us to make good in­struc­tional de­ci­sions for our kids, and how well the kids are mas­ter­ing the con­tent.”

The state is look­ing at four ar­eas when scor­ing schools: achieve­ment, progress, achieve­ment gap and chal­lenge points.

For in­stance, if a school is gain­ing an­nu­ally in their stan­dard­ized test scores in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas, they get bet­ter marks on the over­all in­dex score than they would had they not made any gains at all.

Ad­di­tion­ally, they take into ac­count that stu­dents in lower grade lev­els are go­ing to have dif­fer­ent sets of pri­or­i­ties in early stages of learn­ing than in the later grades, and fac­tor that and many other el­e­ments into play.

Ev­ery­thing from the con­di­tion of build­ings to the num­ber of stu­dents in each class­room go to­ward the CCRPI’s over­all score, pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tors a guide to what’s work­ing and what isn’t in schools around the dis­trict and the state as a whole.

So for the 8,053 stu­dents who are en­rolled in the Polk School Dis­trict ac­cord­ing to the state’s CCRPI web­site, an­nual in­creases in test scores, new fa­cil­i­ties like the Polk County Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy at Cedar­town and Rock­mart High Schools, and much more make a dif­fer­ence when the state is pro­vid­ing an over­all score.

Break­ing down the fig­ures by grade lev­els, the over­all pic­ture is by the num­bers one of im­prove­ment.

El­e­men­tary schools for in­stance com­bined saw an in­crease of 4.3 points from 2016 to 2017, go­ing from a 68.8 to a 73.1 in a year’s time. That’s an ad­di­tional an­nual jump of 3.1 points from 65.7 in 2015.

The mid­dle and high schools also saw ap­pre­cia­ble jumps in that time frame, with Cedar­town and Rock­mart Mid­dle’s com­bined scores jump­ing from a 64.4 to a 68 in one year af­ter see­ing slightly over a one point drop from the 65.6 the year be­fore. Cedar­town and Rock­mart High Schools com­bined scores also re­flected in­creases af­ter drop­ping from 2015 to 2016. The scores com­bined were 78.8 in 2015, then dropped to 70.2 in 2016. This year, they’re back up to 79.6, ac­count­ing for a swing down­ward of 8.6 points be­tween 2015 and 2016, and then a 9.4 point in­crease be­tween this year and last.

Atkins said one of the things ac­count­ing for the down­turns and then swift up­swings was changes in strate­gies and per­son­nel at the schools in the past years.

“Re­ally it’s the fo­cus on in­struc­tional strate­gies and what we’re us­ing in the class­room,” Atkins said. “We de­cided that af­ter look­ing at how we were pro­vid­ing in­struc­tion, we felt like a more tra­di­tional, blended ap­proach served us bet­ter.”

This year’s gains - es­pe­cially at Cedar­town High School, and East­side, Chero­kee and North­side El­e­men­tary schools - pro­vide Atkins with plenty of progress to ap­plaud, but also a lot of in­for­ma­tion about where the school sys­tem should go next.

“I think what we plan on do­ing, is we’re go­ing to take our scores, an­a­lyze them, im­prove on ar­eas where we need to fo­cus our ef­forts and pro­vide ad­di­tional training to teach­ers where it is needed,” Atkins said.

Atkins said ad­di­tion­ally that one thing that will help the 2018 CCRPI scores is the school dis­trict is an­tic­i­pat­ing a lower turnover rate than it has seen in the past years. She said this will help the schools re­tain vi­tal knowl­edge and in­struc­tion prac­tices that will help make pos­i­tive move­ment in scores in the years to come.

“Our teach­ers are ac­tu­ally the most valu­able re­source we have to mak­ing the im­prove­ments nec­es­sary to en­sure that our chil­dren are achiev­ing at the level we all want to see,” Atkins said.

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