Chesterton Tribune

State grades schools: Duneland, A; Valpo, B; Discovery, B

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By VICKI URBANIK

The Duneland School Corporation and four others in Porter County received an “A” grade under the Indiana Department of Education’s school ranking program. The DOE on Monday announced the rankings under its school accountability program known as P.L. 221, which monitors school progress based on their ISTEP results and end of course assessments. For the first time, the state assigned a letter grade instead of the previous labels. An “exemplary” last year is now an A, while a “commendable” last year is now a B and an “academic progress” is a C.

As a school corporation, Duneland scored an “A,” an improvement over last year’s “commendable,” or “B,” status. The other Porter County school corporations getting the A grade were Boone Township, East Porter County Schools, Porter Township, and Portage Township.

The Valparaiso School Corporation received a “B,” a downgrade from last year’s “exemplary” rating. Also getting a B was the Union Township Schools, which also got the equivalent of a B last year.

The Discovery Charter School was graded for the first time, since last year was its first year in operation. Discovery got a “B.”

Looking at the school by school breakdown, all but two Duneland Schools received an “A” grade. Chesterton High School and Westchester Intermediate both received a C. For CHS, that was an improvement over last year’s “watch” status, while for WIS, the grade was a downgrade from last year’s “exemplary” status.

Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer said that overall, Duneland did well in the ranking system. But he also said the program itself is flawed, since it measures schools based on their ISTEP scores without taking into account student groups, such as special education or those in the lower socio economic status, who often do not perform as well as others on the standardized tests.

He noted that a “C” is considered average, but that this is the grade that some of the best high schools in the region, including CHS and Valparaiso High School, received.

The DOE announced the rankings on Monday. A record number of schools, 775 in total, received the A ranking. Overall, 42 percent earned an A, while another 9 percent were ranked as B.

The number of schools receiving an F, or Academic Probation, decreased by 50 percent, the DOE said.

The following is the breakdown of the rankings in Porter County, with the school corporation overall listed first followed by the individual schools. Last year’s comparable grade is shown in parentheses.

Duneland: A (B). Jackson, A (A); Brummitt, A (B); Liberty Intermediate, A (A); Liberty Elementary, A (B); CHS, C (D); WIS, C (A); Bailly, A (A); Chesterton Middle, A (B); Yost, A (A).

Valparaiso: B (A). VHS, C (C); Ben Franklin Middle, A (A); TJ Middle, C (C); TJ Elementary, A (B); Central A (A); Flint Lake, B (A); Cooks Corner, A (A); Hayes Leonard, B (A); Memorial, A (A); Northview, A (A); Parkview, A (A).

Portage: A (A). John Simatovich, B (A); Portage High, C (D); Aylesworth, A (C); Fegely, B (C); Crisman, A (A); Central, A (A); Ethel Jones, A (A); Willowcreek Middle, B (A); Kyle, A (A); Paul Saylor, B (A); Myers, A (A); South Haven, A (A).

Boone Township: A (B). Hebron High, C (D); Hebron Middle, A (A); Hebron Elementary, A (B).

East Porter: A (B). Morgan Middle and High, A (B); Morgan Elementary, A (A); Kouts Middle and High, B (B); Kouts Elementary, A (A); Washington Middle and High, A (B); Washington Elementary, A (A).

Porter Township: A (A). Boone Grove Elementary, A (A); Boone Grove High, A (D); Boone Grove Middle, A (A); Porter Lakes, A (A).

Union: B (B). Wheeler High, C (B); Union Middle, B (B); Union Elementary, A (A).

 

Posted 8/30/2011