Iowa School Report Card grades local schools

Local elementary school students practice their reading. (Grundy Register file photo)

GRUNDY CENTER – A few years ago, the Iowa Department of Education rolled out a new program – the Iowa School Report Card – that aims to assess the performance of each educational facility in Iowa.

These assessments are made based on several different factors, including: proficiency (in reading and math), closing the gap (narrowing the performance gap for students on free-or-reduced lunch, students on an Individualized Education Program, or students participating in the English Language Learners program), college and career ready growth (students on trajectory to be college and career ready by graduation), annual expected growth (percent of students achieving a year of academic growth), attendance, and staff retention. 

In Grundy Center, the grades for 2017 are in, with the elementary and high schools receiving a “Commendable rating,” while the middle school received a “Needs Improvement” mark.

During the Grundy Center School Board’s most recent meeting, school administrators presented the Report Card findings to board members.

At the High School, the Report Card shows that the school’s marks dropped very slightly, though the ‘grade’ still remained in the commendable range. The most pronounced drop was in the ‘closing the achievement gap’ area.

At the Middle School, the Report Card shows that the school’s ‘grade’ dropped from Acceptable in 2016 to Needs Improvement in 2017. There were drops in all areas of assessment except for attendance, though the most pronounced drops were in proficiency and closing the achievement gap.

At the Elementary School, the report shows that the schools ‘grades’ are actually up from last year, when the school was ranked “Acceptable.” Now ranked commendable, the school’s most notable improvement is in the area of ‘closing the achievement gap.’

But even with the school’s improved scores, Elementary Principal Brian Sammons says there are much better ways to measure success than the School Report Card.

“This year, we’re well above the state average, and we closed that gap quite a bit,” Sammons said. “But there are still some things I want to point out about these scores.”

For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register.