Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 2, 2013
State of Maine issues report card: DISHS is average, elementary school failing
Public forum to be held Monday night
by Jessica Brophy
The state has released a Report Card of schools in the state, awarding every elementary and high school a grade from A-F. Deer Isle-Stonington High School earned a C from the state, and the elementary school earned an F.
Parents, community members and any other interested parties are invited to a public forum on Monday, May 6, to discuss the grades. Superintendent Mark Jenkins said he will take questions at the informal forum, which will be held at the high school cafeteria.
This is not a standards-based report card, said Jenkins, but rather an attempt to prompt further discussion of where all the schools in the state are and how they can improve.
The state-issued letter grade assessment for each school is based on student achievement, growth in achievement and on the performance of the bottom 25 percent of students. The primary metrics for the elementary school are test scores on the New England Common Assessment Program and the alternative test Maine offers for students with cognitive disabilities, the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio. For the high school, the assessments are the SAT and the PAAP. Graduation rates are also used as a metric for the high school.
The data used is from the 2011-12 school year or earlier, which may not reflect current work in the schools, said Jenkins.
The scores were adjusted on a bell curve, meaning that there are limited “A” schools and there must be a similar number of “F” schools. This year, there were 422 elementary schools scored, according to information provided by Jenkins. There were 50 As, 55 Bs, 235 Cs, 48 Ds, and 34 Fs. There were 124 high schools scored, with nine As, 21 Bs, 56 Cs and 10 Fs.
In a press release from the Maine Department of Education, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen said the “desire is not to make the letter grades a cause for shame, but rather an opportunity for transparency with parents and communities, and a basis for targeted supports to underperforming schools.” The press release did not specify what form “targeted supports” for low-performing schools would take.
Jenkins said the meeting will be to answer questions parents might have about the grades of the schools.
The meeting will be held on Monday, May 6, at 6 p.m. at the Deer Isle-Stonington High School cafeteria.