Prairie Grove Schools Get 2017 Report Card
PRAIRIE GROVE — Allen Williams, superintendent of Prairie Grove School District, briefly discussed letter grades the district received on its latest report card at last week’s School Board meeting but said he wanted to talk about the findings in more depth at a later meeting.
“I’ve been in rooms with educators and very few folks can tell me how this is all figured,” Williams told Board members at their April 16 meeting. “We’re beginning to learn how it works and how it is scored. I’m kinda learning this on the fly myself.”
The Arkansas Department of Education posted letter grades for the state’s more than 1,000 schools on its website earlier this month. Grades range from A to F on the 2017 School Performance Reports.
Prairie Grove Elementary School received a C grade and the middle school and high school both received B’s.
Williams said all grades are based in part on scores from the ACT Aspire tests but different percentages are used in calculating a grade for elementary schools versus middle and high schools.
For elementary schools, 85 percent of the grade comes from test scores or improvement on test scores and 15 percent comes from school quality/student success, which takes into account such things as student attendance, reading at grade level, science achievement.
For upper grades, 35 percent is based on achievement on tests, 35 percent on improvement, 15 percent on graduation rate and 15 percent on school quality/student success, which includes ACT composite scores and participation in Advanced Placement classes.
He noted the grades are based on the 2017 ACT Aspire tests and schools are just now receiving their report cards, about the same time students are taking the 2018 ACT Aspire tests. The timing did not provide administrators and teachers a chance to look at the reports to make changes for the next go around of tests, Williams said.
The individual reports show that 3 percent of the students at Prairie Grove Elementary School are English learners and 46 percent are low income. The race/ethnicity of the school is 88.8 percent white, 4.8 percent Hispanic/Latino, 3.3 percent American Indian, 2 percent Black/African American, 1.1 percent Asian.
The middle school’s individual report shows 2.4 percent of the students are English learners and 46 percent are low income. Race/ethnicity ratios are 89 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, almost 2 percent Black or African American.
At the high school, 3 percent are English learners, 38 percent low income, 91 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic and 1 percent Black or African American.
The middle school and high school both had high B’s, Williams said. As far as the elementary school, he said he believes after school staff are able to analyze the report cards and see what needs to be done, “We’ll be just fine.”
Williams said he supports the process because it allows schools to look at themselves and to see areas that have weaknesses.
“We’ve got some work to do,” Williams said, “but I think our schools stack up pretty well.”
The Department of Education based letter grades on the new “ESSA School Index Scores,” which are numerical scores calculated using formulas developed by state education leaders and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The report cards are in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
The scores take into account student performance and improvement on ACT Aspire exams, student attendance, science achievement, reading at grade level, grade-point average, community service and college entrance exam results.
Hannah McDonald, a math teacher at Prairie Grove Middle School, received the 2018 Outstanding Arkansas Mathematics Teaching Award from the Oklahoma-Arkansas section of the Mathematical Association of America. She was recognized by the School Board last...