DES MOINES — The new Iowa School Performance Profiles show more than half of the schools in the state are in the top three designations of exceptional, high performing and commendable.
The Department of Education’s Jay Pennington says you can go online and find your school and then see how things are handled locally. “Local context and conversation and information about what’s happening with that school is critical in understanding what the data are telling you, but also what folks within that school are really doing to address or celebrate, in some cases, the good work of educators within that building,” he says.
Pennington says there are many positives in the information released Thursday. “We see that proficiency rates are up in both English language arts, and a nice increase in mathematics,” Pennington says. “We see that participation rates are up as well. So more kids are participating in the assessment, which is important, you know, coming out of the pandemic.”
Pennington says at the same time there are areas of concern. “Things like, you know, attendance is down slightly, the percent of students that are chronically absent, so they’re missing a significant portion of the school year, those numbers are up. That’s both something that we’re seeing locally, but also a national phenomenon,” Pennington says. “And then you see some areas like a slight decline in the number of kids that are actually going on and enrolling in college after leaving high school.”
There are 468 total schools currently identified in need of targeted assistance and support, with nearly half having issues with students with disabilities. “You know, we’re seeing about the same number of schools that are in need of targeted support than we did a few years ago, before the pandemic,” he says. “And really what that means is, you know, that student group in that school is underperforming, and schools need to build improvement efforts in order to address that particular student group that’s struggling.”
Pennington says many schools have addressed past issues. He says there is a slight increase in the number of schools moving from the lower half to the upper half of the ratings profiles.
— In the Mason City Community School District, schools reported not needing required support were the Alternative School as well as Harding, Hoover and Jefferson elementary schools. Roosevelt Elementary was listed as “Targeted Year 1” support; the Mason City Virtual Academy was listed as “Targeted Year 2”; and Lincoln Intermediate, John Adams Middle and Mason City High schools were listed as “Extended Targeted Year 2”
— In the Clear Lake Community School District, Clear Creek Elementary was listed as not needed required support, while the Middle School and High School were reported as “Targeted Year 1”