When the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released its school report cards Thursday, which includes the list of schools meeting state standards through Adequate Yearly Progress, L'Anse Creuse Public Schools was one of 262 districts statewide to not make AYP – a fact surprising to district officials.
“It is interesting because as a district we have always made AYP and maybe a school or two did not make it,” said Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Edward Okuniewski. “This is the first time that all comprehensive schools made it, except one, and the district did not made it."
Okuniewski said this could partially be attributed to the role graduation rates now play in calculating AYP.
While L’Anse Creuse High School and made AYP, Riverside Academy, the alternative education program, did not make AYP.
In the past, districts only needed to meet AYP targets at one of three levels - elementary, middle and high school. Now, they are required to meet them at all three.
Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman for the MDE, said this year's designations put a focus on the achievement gaps between students and really tries to highlight the need for all students to achieve success.
"The goal is to have all students proficient, not just some," she said, adding that in the past there was the ability to mask poor student performance because the focus was on those students who were doing really well.
With the 2012-13 school year only a few weeks away, Okuniewski said these scores won’t result in any drastic changes to the L’Anse Creuse curriculum but will lead administrators to take a closer look at the achievement gap.
“One thing is we’ve always talked about is the achievement gap. Now it’s right here in our face and that’s not a bad thing but we know who those kids are and the best way to improve any test scores is good teaching and good instruction and we’re going to keep striving for that.”
Another measure of performance on the report cards released Thursday is the Education Yes! grade, which is based on student achievement, achievement growth and self-assessments from schools.
L’Anse Creuse schools scored a mix of B’s and C’s, with most of the C’s going to the middle and high schools.
“We always want to do better,” Okuniewski said. “We made AYP in all of our schools and are very happy about that. It’s interesting how in all of our elementary schools’ scores, top-to-bottom, we are doing well. Our average is above the county and the state and we’re happy with that. We always want to strive for that A, there is no question about it, but there’s pretty complex metrics that go into it.”