Highland District scores well on state report card

The Iowa School Report Card was developed by the Iowa Department of Education in the last five years. It was designed to be an independent and non-bias evaluation of each of the buildings that provide education to Iowa youths. The site meets a legislative requirement and aligns with Department efforts to provide Iowans easier access to meaningful education statistics and to pair accountability and support for schools. The report card for 2017 was made available for public viewing on Dec. 13, 2017. I am proud and pleased to share with you the results you will find for the Highland CSD. What you will find is that our grades for our building and programming score as well or better than our neighboring districts. You will also find that Riverside Elementary ranks in the top 13% of the entire state and joins only a couple of elementary buildings in the area as High Performing.

The following items are scored in determining the building grades.

*Proficiency-The percentage of students scoring proficient or better on reading and math assessments.

*College and Career-Ready Growth-Students who are making year to year growth necessary to be ready for college and career training by the end of high school.

*Annual Expected Growth-Percentage of students making a year of academic growth in a year?s time on reading and math assessments.

*Closing Achievement Gap-Narrowing the gap in achievement for students with disabilities, students eligible for free and reduced price meals, English Language Learners and students of color.

*Graduation Rate-The percentage of ninth grade students who finish high school within five years. (High Schools Only)

*Attendance-The average daily attendance of students

*Staff Retention-The percentage of teachers, school administrators and other licensed staff members.

*Parent Involvement Teacher Survey Results

Grades are distributed on six different levels. Buildings are graded as Priority, Need Improvement, Acceptable, Commendable, High Performing or Exceptional.

For the second year in a row, Riverside Elementary School is rated as a High Performing School. This puts the building in the top 13% in the state.

The top 2% were exceptional, the next 11% High Performing, 28% commendable, 37% acceptable, 17% needing improvement and 5% priority. Riverside Elementary score was 76.2 points compared to 77.5 a year ago when it also was ranked as High Performing. The top ranks for Riverside Elementary include 96% attendance, 84.2% staff retention and 78.4% proficiency.

The Highland Middle School was ranked as acceptable, which is equal to or better than neighboring middle school grades. On the middle school level, 8% rated as Priority, 16% were Needing Improvement, 46% are Acceptable, 22% Commendable, 5% High Performing and 3% Exceptional. The Highland rating was 61.3 points, improving from 58.1 a year ago. The biggest strength for the middle school was 95.4% attendance, 75.9% Staff Retention and 74.6% Proficiency.

The Highland High School was also ranked as acceptable, which is equal to or better than neighboring high schools. On the High School level, 6% are Priority, 13% Need Improvement, 46% are Acceptable, 28% Commendable, 8% High Performing and 1% Exceptional.

The Highland High School score was 61.9 points, which borders the Commendable level. A year ago the High School was 65.6 and was graded Commendable. Strengths for the High School include a 97.1% Graduation rate, 95% attendance, 88.1% Staff Retention and an impressive 81.2% Proficiency level.

The next task for the district is to analyze these scores.

We will have a brief celebration for our accomplishment and then get to work to get all buildings Commendable or better. The area that is consistently below expectations for all three buildings is the College and Career Ready score. We have taken steps already to better develop our Career Pathways with the addition of Aerospace Technology, Culinary Arts and Agriculture Education.

We will also strive to enroll more students in upper level English and math curriculums.

One other piece of good news the Highland CSD received was the 2016-2017 Special Education score from the Iowa Department of Education.

The Highland CSD received the highest rating from the Iowa Department of Education in Compliance, Implementation of Special Education Services and Part B Services. We are very pleased that the district has addressed needs to achieve this status in recent years.

I encourage parents and patrons to review data as it relates to school districts.

I am pleased to let you know that the Highland CSD is doing good things and rates as well or better than all districts in the area.

Mike Jorgensen is superintendent of the Highland School District.