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NPS fares well overall in state Accountability Report

A graph from the 2016-17 Connecticut Next Generation Accountability Report, showing results for Norwalk Public Schools.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools is touting its success in the state’s just-released annual assessment of school performance.

The 2016-17 Connecticut Next Generation Accountability Report, released by the state Friday, show 14 of Norwalk’s 20 schools performed better in the assessments, and the district overall, in the words of NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams, “shows a 56 point growth in Norwalk’s accountability index score, putting the district ahead of the state index.”

“We are very pleased by the significant growth achieved by Norwalk Public Schools,” Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski is quoted as saying in a press release.  “This level of growth has placed Norwalk at the top of its District Comparison Group (DRG) for the first time, ahead of Stamford and other districts similar to ours.  While there remains much work to be done, Norwalk’s score in the Accountability Index achieves a major outcome of the 2016 – 2019 Strategic Operating Plan, as set by the Board of Education.”

Fox Run, Kendall, Jefferson, Silvermine and Wolfpit Elementary Schools did not fare as well in the report. The Pathway Academy at Briggs also scored lower than it did last year.

“NPS received an accountability index score of 76.9 percent, compared to a State index of 73.2 percent,” the NPS press release said.

“Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System is a broad set of 12 indicators that help tell the story of how well a school is preparing its students for success in college, careers and life,” the state Department of Education states. “The system moves beyond test scores and graduation rates and instead provides a more holistic, multifactor perspective of district and school performance and incorporates student growth over time.”

The results represent the system’s third year of use.

“Test scores, once the lone measure for grading schools and districts, still account for about 80 percent of the ratings for elementary and middle schools,” the Connecticut Mirror reports.

The state’s indicators are:

  1. Academic achievement status measured by state assessments
  2. Academic growth
  3. Assessment participation rate
  4. Chronic absenteeism
  5. Preparation for postsecondary and career readiness – coursework
  6. Preparation for postsecondary and career readiness – exams
  7. Graduation – on track in ninth grade
  8. Graduation – four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate – all students
  9. Graduation – six-year adjusted cohort graduation rate – high needs
  10. Postsecondary entrance rate – all students (college enrollment)
  11. Physical fitness
  12. Arts access

 

Most of Connecticut school districts earned worse grades this year, the Connecticut Mirror reports.

The state’s report shows:

Brookside Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 73.8, up from a 2015-16 rating of 72.1 percent. Brookside scored higher than the state average in four math indicators but lower in English Language Arts.

Brien McMahon High School had an overall accountability rating of 74.7 percent, up from a 2015-16 rating of 73.7 percent. Brien McMahon scored higher than the state average in graduation rates, postsecondary entrance, arts access and physical fitness, but lower in English Language Arts and math.

The Center for Global Studies, in its first year on the state’s books as a separate school, had an overall accountability rating of 87.2 percent, with better scores than the state average in every category except preparation for postsecondary and career readiness and physical fitness rate.

Columbus Magnet School had an overall accountability rating of 75.7, up from a 2015-16 rating of 73.4 percent.  Columbus scored better than the state average in every category. Columbus’

Cranbury Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 77.6, up from a 2015-16 rating of 70.6 percent. Cranbury scored better than the state average in every category.

Fox Run Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 66.2, down from a 2015-16 rating of 68.7 percent. Fox Run scored better than the state average in English Language Arts and math for high needs students, but lower than the state in English Language Arts for all students, and just slightly lower in math for all students. Fox Run scored higher in the state on physical fitness measures and arts access.

Jefferson Magnet School had an overall accountability rating of 67.9, down from 74.2 in 2015-16. Jefferson scored better than the state average in English Language Arts and science for high needs students, and higher than the state in math for all students, but lower than the state in English Language Arts and science for all students. Jefferson scored higher in the state on physical fitness measures and arts access.

Kendall Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 59.8, down from 67.1 in 2015-16. Kendall scored better than the state average in English Language Arts and math for high needs students, but lower than the state in English Language Arts and science for all students and lower than the state in math for all students.

Marvin Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 75.8, up from a 2015-16 rating of 75.1 percent. Marvin scored better than the state average in math but lower in in English Language Arts for all students and lower in science for all students.

Naramake Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 75.7, up from a 2015-16 rating of 70.2 percent. Naramake scored better than the state average in math and English Language Arts, but lower in science.

Nathan Hale Middle School had an overall accountability rating of 64.7, up from a 2015-16 rating of 64.2 percent. Nathan Hale scored better than the state average in science but lower in science and math.

Norwalk High School had an overall accountability rating of 75.6, up from a 2015-16 rating of 72.1 percent. Norwalk High scored better than the state average in graduation rates, postsecondary entrance, arts access and but lower in English Language Arts, science, math and physical fitness.

Norwalk Pathways Academy at Briggs had an overall accountability rating of 36.7, down from a 2015-16 rating of 37.5 percent.

Ponus Ridge Middle School had an overall accountability rating of 64.6, up from a 2015-16 rating of 63.1 percent. Ponus’s absenteeism for “all students” was higher than the state average, with scores in math, science and English Language Arts scores lower for “all students.” High needs students scored better than the state average in science.

Roton Middle School had an overall accountability rating of 73.2, up from a 2015-16 rating of 67 percent. Roton was better than the state in every category.

Rowayton Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 82.8, up from its 2015-16 rating of 82.1 percent. Rowayton scored better than the state average in every category.

Silvermine Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 67.3, down from 2015-16 rating of 70.2 percent. Silvermine scored higher than the state average in math and English Language Arts for high needs students but lower in ELA for “all students” and lower in science.

Tracey Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 72.7, up from a 2015-16 rating of 68.5 Tracey had higher scores for high needs students in math, science and English Language Arts but lower for “all students.”

West Rocks Middle School had an overall accountability rating of 70.3, up from 64.1 in 2015-16. West Rocks was slightly above average in science scores for “all students” and well above average for high needs students, but was lower than average in math and English Language Arts.

Wolfpit Elementary School had an overall accountability rating of 72.1, down from 72.9 in 2015-16. Wolfpit scored higher than the state average in math and English Language Arts but lower in science for “all students.”

 

NextGenResults2016-17_ForPublicRelease

 

The NPS press release said:

“Norwalk had the third greatest gain of K-12 districts in the state, behind two much smaller districts in Eastern Connecticut.

“… Norwalk’s four-year graduation rate of 90.4 percent also exceeds the state average graduation rate of 87.4 percent

“Norwalk ranked first as compared to similar districts in growth results for all students and high needs students in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. Meeting these benchmarks are in alignment with the goal to close the achievement gap compared to statewide results under the 2016-2019 Strategic Operating Plan.

“… In November 2017, New Connecticut Smarter Balanced (SBAC) test results showed NPS ranking first in Percent of Target Achieved (PTA) in English Language Arts (ELA) and math as compared to similar districts. The PTA is a measure of what portion of the target goal is achieved under the Connecticut Next Generation Accountability System. The rankings reflect the average growth results for all NPS students in the district.

“A detailed, public presentation of all 12 indicators of the plan will be made at the Board of Education meeting on February 20.”

 

“Our team is going to take a deep dive into the report and will have more details at next week’s Board meeting,” Wilcox Williams said in an email. “Overall this is very good news and continued strong progress towards our goals under the Strategic Operating Plan, but we know there is certainly work still to be done.”

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2 comments

Piberman February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am

Not so fast. Readers can look up the details on 1000 schools and nearly 200 districts in the CT Mirror.
When it comes to proportions of Norwalk students taking and pass advanced math and science we fall well behind our neighbors high performing schools. As do with college, college degree secured in 4 or 6 years and graduating high school in 4 years.

Small year to year changes aren’t terribly insightful. The big story here is that Norwalk under performs the surrounding towns by a significant margin but does much better than Bridgeport and other depressed large cities. And that Norwalk pays similar salaries to the wealthy nearby towns. But we don’t get the results. So spending even more monies will just further depress homeowners who support our public schools. Not improve our schools performance.

The real critical need in Norwalk is our lower income students many at the poverty levels. Without encouraging advanced math and science courses they graduate severely handicapped securing good jobs. And most do not secure college degrees in 4 or even 6 years out of high school. It’s an old problem in Norwalk with obvious concerns for creating a viable lower income minority community able to work, raise families and retire in Norwalk.

Finally, by any reasonable standard Norwalk substantially overspends on public schools relative to its median household income and housing values. Any doubters need just look at the stagant Grand List and housing values over the past decade. And wonder what happens during the next Recession. Let hope Mayor Rilling and the Common Council will see the connection between our long depressed housing values, heavy tax levels and excessive school spending relative to our income.

No matter how much more Norwalk spends on its public schools they will continue to fall well below our wealthy neighboring towns in performance. What has yet to be addressed successfully is greatly improving the performance of our lower income mostly minority students oft living at poverty levels within single parent families. They may not get through a 4 year college, or even graduate high school in 4 years, but at least should be expected to graduate with good employable skills.

Adam Blank February 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Piberman* Not so fast * Why do you omit from your comments that Norwalk shines when compared to similarly situated municipalities? In fact, as I’m sure you know the State groups school districts into reference groups (DRG) and Norwalk comes out on top.

Seven data indicators are used to classify similar districts into a DRG: three indicators of socioeconomic status (median family income, parental education1 and parental occupation), three indicators of need (percentage of children living in families with a single parent, the percentage of public school children eligible to receive free or
reduced-price meals and percentage of children whose families speak a language other than English at home) and enrollment (the number of students attending schools in that district)

Comparing Norwalk to our DRG the results are:

Norwalk – 76.9
Stamford 74.2
Danbury – 70.3
West Haven 68.9
Ansonia – 64.9
East Hartford – 64.4
Meriden – 64.4
Derby 63.3
Norwich – 58.1

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