Selected readings on US charter schools
A statewide school performance profile website that went live Friday showed charter schools in York County scored better than many schools in the York City district, but far behind other schools in the county.
The scores were released by the state Department of Education and are based on test scores and other factors such as graduation rates and attendance.
Each school was assessed on a scale from 0 to 100. State education officials said scores of 70 or higher are considered satisfactory.
None of the area charter scores hit the satisfactory benchmark of 70, but York Academy Regional Charter School fell just under it at 67.7.
The scores are not comprehensive for a building like York Academy, said Jim Pastore, the school’s chief academic officer. The school only has classes for students up to grade four, meaning the only scores reported are PSSA results in math and reading.
“Our page is going to look almost empty,” Pastore said. Pastore said the profile will become more important next year when school officials can measure their progress, which will be more detailed as the school expands to include higher grade levels.
Pastore said he is pleased the scores reflect more data than test scores. He also said programs, like tutoring with Title I, will help students at the school improve their scores over time.
Pastore noted the charter school scored better than other schools in York City.
Davis K-8 in the York City School District was the highest performer in the city schools, earning a score of 61.2. Devers K-8 scored 56.6, but the other district K-8 schools scored below 50.
The other charters: Among charter schools in York City, Lincoln Charter School scored 59.9, and its partner school Helen Thackston scored 57.5. New Hope Academy scored 44.6. Crispus Attucks’ YouthBuild Charter School does not have a school performance profile because it is a dropout recovery program.
Sharee McFadden, a spokeswoman for New Hope Academy, said the scores give an idea of where the school needs to improve.
“That will give us a framework for success,” McFadden said.
McFadden said there are many external aspects that affect student test scores, such as poverty and a student’s environment outside of school.
“We see those factors manifested in test scores,” McFadden said.
Christopher Gibbs, chief academic officer at New Hope Academy, said this year each teacher is required to identify the five lowest-performing students in their classrooms and come up with individualized plans for increasing their proficiency on state tests.
McFadden said the scores only enforce the goals of the school.
“We know we have to improve regardless of the standards we’re measured against,” McFadden said.
Other scores: Among York County public schools, only three school districts had complete profiles on the school performance report website, created by the state Department of Education. Every profile listed data about enrollment, the attendance rate and demographics, but some were missing scores from PSSA and Keystone tests because of discrepancies in reporting the scores.
York County superintendents said they wanted to make sure the information for the first year is correct. In the future, schools will be scored on how much they improve from this first year.
“If this is our baseline year, we wanted to make sure that we were 100 percent accurate,” said Joshua Doll, assistant superintendent at Dallastown Area School District.
The scores do not mean anything until school officials have had a chance to make sure they are correct, said Emilie Lonardi, superintendent at West York Area School District.
“We’re not going to put much credence in it until we know it’s right,” Lonardi said.
How it works: Most York County schools scored well on the profiles that were released. Every elementary school in the county, as well as some intermediate and middle schools, received a score Friday.
In five York County school districts – York Suburban, West York, Southern York, Dallastown and South Western – every school that received a score landed above 80.
Loganville-Springfield Elementary School, which was designated as a national Blue Ribbon School in September, scored a 97.6 in the Dallastown Area School District. York Suburban High School received a score of 97.4.
Among public schools, the Hanover Public School District, West Shore and York City were the only districts to have schools that scored below 70.
Blank scoring: Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq said the department chose to release the profiles with the missing growth data to showcase the existing strength of the data-collecting system.
Dumaresq said more than 4.6 million data elements are already included in the website, which is to be celebrated.
Dumaresq said the profiles are largely complete, aside from the testing data.
“We felt holding the whole thing to wait for one was probably not in our best interest,” she said.
Dumaresq said PSSA scores and Keystone results will not be available until December when the profiles are deemed correct.
Source: The York Dispatch – by Nikelle Snader