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Sweet Home, Oregon
October 17, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 17, 2012

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Page 12 Vc I JD C .CMMMI IKIITV lp' - October 17, 20,12 .S last 's Its Sweet Home Charter School received a rating of "outstanding" on its 2011-12 report card, while all other District 55 schools were rated satisfactory. This is the second year that the school received the top rating, while other Sweet Home Schools maintained at "satisfactory.'" Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton released the report card ratings for Oregon's K-12 public schools and districts on Oct. 13. These annual report cards provide parents and community members with an overview of school performance in the areas of student achievement, attendance and graduation, participation and student growth, in addition to key school statistics, demographics and an overall rating. "We're very excited of course," said Sweet Home Charter School Principal Scott Richards. "It's very exciting seeing hard work pay off. I'm proud of the teachers. They've worked very hard. It's nice to see something like this." All of the elementary schools scored on the higher end of the "satisfactory" rating, said District 55 Supt. Don Schrader. "Our schools, I think, did fairly well.' Benchmark scores increased a couple of years ago, but the schools have been getting better and meeting those scores, Schrader said. The elementary schools did well on the rating because of the way they have shown growth, but the current report card doesn't quite demonstrate that. The district has a variety of tools it uses to assess how students are doing, Schrader said. The teachers and principals are "doing a really good job of making decisions based on that data. If students are struggling, they're applying the right interventions, especially at the elementary level." That's where the district is focused, kindergarten through third grade in particular, Schrader said. The district wants to make sure the students can read efficiently by the end of grade three. As they get older, it gets tougher for them to catch up if they are not proficient readers. "The report cards don't tell the whole story," Schrader said. They rest of the story is getting the students to school, making sure they're fed and safe - on top of trying to improve math, reading and writing scores. "The kids are having a great time," Schrader said. "We have excellent teachers. I call them heroes." The students continue to be motivated to learn, Schrader said. "That doesn't come out in the report card." This will be the final year Oregon releases the current version of the school report cards. As part of the state's "federal flexibility waiver," the school report cards will be redesigned to provide better information to parents and communities on how students, schools, and districts are doing. Those new reports have been calculated this year as well, and under those, Sweet Home schools fared better, Schrader said. They feature a percentage based rating, with a weighted average at Hawthorne school of 53.8 percent. Foster is at 83.8 percent, Holley at 77.5 percent; Oak Heights, 65 percent; Sweet Home Charter School, 80 percent; Sweet Home High School 69 percent; and Sweet Home Junior High, 81.7 percent. "Part of having strong, vibrant and successful schools is having engaged and informed families and communities," Saxton said. "I am incredibly excited by the work underway to redesign the Oregon Report Cards to ensure they provide the information our parents and communities need about student and school performance. "Our state is embracing a new model for education - one that is better coordinated, more student- centered, and more focused on key outcomes. We need to have a report card that is aligned to and supports that vision for education, and that is what this redesign process is all about." As part of Oregon's federal flexibility waiver, the state proposed designing a new State Report Card. Since the timing of the waiver approval did not allow for a redesign to occur before this year's report card release, this year's reports will look much as they have in the past. The main change is the removal of overall Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designations since these are no longer required under Oregon's waiver. In addition, schools that were identified as priority, focus, or model schools this summer under Oregon's new accountability system received a note of this new designation on their Report Card. Priority, focus, and model schools are high-poverty schools identified as needing additional supports and interventions, priority and focus, or as examples of student success. None of Sweet Home's schools received a designation of priority, focus or model. 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