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State releases school accountability grades

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has released the 2016-2017 School Accountability Grades. Nearly 25 percent of schools improved one or more letter grades, with the total number of A rated schools increasing by close to 6 percent. Overall, 62 percent of schools received an A or B.

In LaGrange County, Lakeland and Westview school corporations saw their overall corporation grade go up one letter grade. Westview rose to an A in the state’s accountability grades, while Lakeland went from a C in 2015-2016 to a B for this year. Prairie Heights held at an overall B grade in the state grade.

At the building level, almost every building either rose or stayed at the same grade. Lakeland saw two of its buildings rise from Ds in 2015-2016 to Bs this time around – Wolcott Mills Elementary and Lakeland Middle School.

Prairie Heights Middle School went from a C to a B, while the district’s high school went from a B to an A this year.

Westview’s Topeka Elementary went up one letter grade, earning an A in this year’s standings. Shipshewana-Scott Elementary also rose from a C to a B.

Only Parkside Elementary saw its grade slip, from a B last year to a C this year. Prairie Heights Elementary School was the only building in the county to be graded at a D, the same grade it received last year.

Building grades that did not change were: Westview Jr.-Sr. High School, A; Westview Elementary School, B; Lakeland High School, B; and Lima-Brighton Elementary School, C.

Around the state, 48 corporations earned an A grade, accounting for nearly 17 percent of all districts. Over 51 percent of districts earned a B grade, with 149 corporations marked in that category. There were 63 that earned a C, 21 percent, while only six were rated with a D grade, and one corporation earned an F. Twenty-two districts are appealing their grades.

The state report noted that around 21 percent of students attend a school that is graded at an A, 46 percent in schools with a B grade, nearly 28 percent go to a school with a C grade, and 5.4 percent at a D-graded school.

“I am encouraged by the results of our current accountability grades as an indication of the great education Indiana students are receiving,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of Public Instruction “Our work, however, is not finished. As a department we will continue to partner with stakeholders from the state level to the local community to ensure every school is successful and every student is academically prepared for the future.”

Established in 1999, the General Assembly passed Public Law 221-199 which created a performance-based accountability system. In response to this legislation, the State Board of Education (SBOE), IDOE, and the Education Roundtable collaborated over the next two years to establish the administrative rules outlining the accountability system. These rules were finalized and in place by the end of 2001. In 2015, SBOE established new metrics for Indiana’s student-centered accountability system. The metrics when into effect beginning with the assessment of the 2015-16 school year.