On grading scale, most local schools earn A’s

Herald Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — The annual A-F grades for schools issued by the Indiana Department of Education were released Friday after being approved during an Indiana State Board of Education meeting.

Dubois County schools receiving an A grade were Celestine, Dubois, Ferdinand, Holland, Huntingburg, Ireland and Pine Ridge and Precious Blood elementary schools; Cedar Crest Intermediate School; Jasper and Southridge middle schools; and Jasper and Northeast Dubois high schools.

Schools receiving a B were Dubois Middle School, Forest Park Junior-Senior High School, Holy Family School and Southridge High School.

Fifth and Tenth Street schools in Jasper earned a C grade.

All the North Spencer schools received an A, as did Otwell Elementary School.

Nancy Habig, president of the Greater Jasper School Board, was pleased with the results.

“The improvements that we’ve been making at the grade schools are paying off,” said Habig, who noted that grades for Fifth and Tenth Street schools improved from a D last year to a C this year.

“We have a good system,” she said, pointing out that the corporation’s other schools received A’s. “Things are looking up, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Grades at Southwest and Southeast Dubois schools remained the same from 2012.

“Our people are doing a good job,” said Kevin Wertman, president of the Southwest Dubois School Board. “Obviously, our teachers and administrators are doing what they’re supposed to do. The county overall has a good education system.”

Grades for Northeast Dubois schools were mixed. Dubois Middle School earned a B, down from an A last year. But Dubois Elementary School improved from a C to an A. The corporation’s other schools received A’s.

Brenda Ferguson, principal of Dubois and Celestine elementary schools, said there was no magic wand. The school earned a better letter grade because teachers and students worked harder and parents became more involved.

She added that she is not as concerned about the letter grade as the consistent effort by students and staff.

“Each year we’re taking the system one step further,” Ferguson said.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz says a new “more transparent and fair” model will replace the current one during the 2014-15 academic year.

In total, Indiana schools received these grades in 2013: A’s, 938; B’s, 451; C’s, 372; D’s, 209; and F’s, 112.

Results from last year are: A’s, 856; B’s, 420; C’s, 425; D’s, 242; and F’s, 144.

In statement released Friday, Ritz said: “I want to thank Indiana’s educators, administrators, parents and, most importantly, students for their patience and countless hours of work over the last academic year. Due to problems caused by the company that administered the ISTEP, these 2012-13 school accountability grades were unfortunately delayed until this point.

“Though this current model for calculating school accountability grades will be changing, the data does show that some great learning is occurring in our schools, and I want to congratulate our students for their successes. The 2013-14 school year will be the last year for our current model. As superintendent, I am excited that our new model for school accountability will measure both student performance and growth in a way that gives our educators, students and parents the needed information to address each student’s academic needs. The new, more transparent and fair model will be fully operational for the 2014-15 school year.”

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.

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