Newspaper Article Archive of
The Iowa School Report Card was developed by the Iowa Department of Education and was designed to be an independent and non-biased evaluation of each of the buildings providing education to Iowa youths. The 2017 report card was made available on Dec. 13.
I’m proud and pleased to share with you that this year the Highland Community School District’s grades for our buildings and programming were equal to or better than our neighboring districts.
You’ll also find that Riverside Elementary ranks in the top 13 percent of the entire state and joins only a couple of elementary buildings in the area as high-performing.
The following items are scored in determining the building grades:
• Proficiency: the percentage of students scoring proficient or better on reading and math assessments.
• College and career-ready growth: students who are making year-to-year growth necessary to be ready for college and career training by the end of high school.
• Annual expected growth: percentage of students making a year of academic growth in a year’s time on reading and math assessments.
• Closing achievement gap: narrowing the gap in achievement for students with disabilities, students eligible for free and reduced price meals, English Language Learners and students of color.
• Graduation rate: the percentage of ninth-grade students who finish high school within five years. (High Schools Only)
• Attendance: the average daily attendance of students.
• Staff retention: the percentage of teachers, school administrators and other licensed staff members.
• Parent involvement teacher survey results.
Grades are distributed on six different levels. Buildings are graded as: priority, need improvement, acceptable, commendable, high-performing or exceptional.
For the second year in a row, Riverside Elementary School was rated as a high-performing school. This puts it in the top 13 percent in the state. This year, the building’s score was 76.2 points compared to 77.5 a year ago, when it also was ranked as high-performing. The top ranks for Riverside Elementary include 96 percent attendance, 84.2 percent staff retention and 78.4 percent proficiency.
The Highland Middle School was ranked as acceptable, which is equal to or better than neighboring middle schools. The middle school’s rating was 61.3 points, improved from 58.1 a year ago. The biggest strength for the middle school was its 95.4 percent attendance, 75.9 percent staff retention and 74.6 percent proficiency.
The Highland High School was also ranked as acceptable, which is equal to or better than neighboring high schools. A year ago the high school was 65.6 and was graded commendable. Strengths for the high school include a 97.1 percent graduation rate, 95 percent attendance, 88.1 percent staff retention and an impressive 81.2 percent proficiency level.
The next task for the district is to analyze these scores. We will have a brief celebration for our accomplishment and then get to work to get all buildings commendable or better. The area consistently below expectations for all three buildings is the college- and career-ready score. We have taken steps already to better develop our Career Pathways with the addition of aerospace technology, culinary arts and agriculture education. We’ll also strive to enroll more students in upper level English and Math curriculums.
One other piece of good news the district received was the 2016-2017 Special Education score from the Iowa Department of Education. Highland received the highest rating from the Iowa Department of Education in compliance, implementation of special education services and part B services. We’re very pleased the district has addressed needs to achieve this status in recent years.
I encourage parents and patrons to review data as it relates to school districts. I’m pleased to let you know Highland is doing good things and rates as well or better than all districts in the area.