SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE

Superintendent Mark Ross

Report card shows progress

When I attended grade school many moons ago, bringing home my school report card was always an interesting experience. Back then we did not have electronic grade books or websites parents could go to check a student’s progress. And unless there were some pretty serious discipline issues, for the most part parents did not go to parent conferences or contact teachers. The burden of keeping your parents informed about your school progress was pretty much up to each student. So when the quarterly report cards were sent home you hoped that what was written by the teacher pretty much matched what you had been telling your parents for the last few months.

Fortunately for me there were not a lot of surprises to what I thought I was getting and what actually appeared on the report card. There were areas that I could feel good about and of course other subjects that needed improvement.

The same can also be said as we look at the newest version of the State Report Card for the Battle Ground School District recently revealed by the Office of the State Superintendent. The Report Card for any district in the state can be accessed at ospi.k12.wa.us (look for Washington State Report Card).

In addition to information on graduation rates and state test score results by grade level, category and demographic areas, there are some new data sets to look at this year including ninth graders on track to graduate, percent of students with two or more absences and extended graduation rates all the way out to seven years.

As a district when we look at the data we obviously look to areas where we can improve and areas where we have shown progress. In order to get a perspective as to how we are doing, we compare ourselves with data at the State level, schools and districts in our local area and districts with similar demographics.

The State requires us to test all students once a year in English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-8 and 10 and in Science in grades 5, 8 and 11. As a district Battle Ground averaged 60 percent of our students meeting proficiency in English Language Arts, which was higher than the State average, and just below the State average in math at 48 percent of our students meeting proficiency. Our overall average scores in ELA and math were higher than both of the two larger districts bordering us to the south. In looking at our scores in science we averaged higher than the State in all three grade levels that took the assessment. When breaking down ELA and math by grade level, we see that Battle Ground students scored higher than the State on English Language Arts in five out of the seven grade levels tested. In math, Battle Ground Students scored higher than the State in three out of the seven grades tested.

What the results show us is that while we are making some good gains in many areas, as a district we can do better, particularly in the area of math. To that end we will be going to the board with a request to adopt new curriculum in the area of primary school math for next year. This is a significant investment of district funds, especially with increasingly tight levy dollars next year, but a critical one to be able to provide our teachers and students with material that more closely aligns with the state standards that students are being assessed on. It has been close to 10 years that the district has had new curriculum in math at the primary level.

Another data point that we look at as a district is our high school on time and extended graduation rates. Additionally, we can see how our ninth graders are tracking toward graduation compared to districts around the state. In Battle Ground we have three alternative programs and two comprehensive high schools. It’s difficult to compare alternative schools as each district offers a different program for alternative education. However when we compare our larger high schools with those around the county and the state, the results are favorable. Together Battle Ground and Prairie High Schools have an average on time graduation rate of 87.6 percent and extended rate (those students who took five to seven years to graduate) of close to 93 percent. The average graduation rate State wide is at 80 percent. When we look at data showing ninth graders on track to graduate (not failing any classes) our two high schools average 70 percent of our ninth graders being on track, statewide the average is 73.9.

Obviously we know that we have more work to do. Our goal of course would be that 100 percent of our students graduate on time and that all of our ninth graders would be on track to graduate. We appreciate that our teachers are working hard and parents are staying involved in their children’s education. As a district we show that 82 percent of our students have two or fewer absences during the year. We know that we can’t help students who aren’t showing up to school, so again, we appreciate our parents support in this area.

We have much to continue working on in your Battle Ground Schools, with support from our parents and community we hope to receive report cards that show progress and success for all of our students.

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Brush Prairie, WA 98606

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Battle Ground, WA 98604

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