Four elementary schools placed on 'warning' by RIDE
Four elementary schools placed on 'warning' by RIDE
NORTH PROVIDENCE - Four of the town's six elementary schools have been classified as "warning" by the Rhode Island Department of Education in its annual ranking released on July 2.
Even though it met proficiency targets in both math and reading, Whelan Elementary School is among them, falling from the last year's top spot of "commended" to "warning," which is fourth out of the six classifications.
Of the 26 Rhode Island schools that earned that top distinction last year, Whelan is one of three to drop to "warning."
Marieville Elementary School remains in the "warning" status for another year, while Centredale Elementary School and Greystone Elementary School both fall one place from last year's "typical" status.
But in a drastic shift in the other direction, Stephen Olney Elementary School has moved from "warning" to "commended." It is the only one of the state's 41 "warning" schools from 2012 to make such an improvement.
McGuire Elementary School, Birchwood Middle School and Ricci Middle School remain "typical."
North Providence High School has remained a "leading" school, just one spot behind "commended."
"They have a wonderful team up there, I have to say," said Assistant Supt. Lisa Jacques, making note of strong administration and department chairpersons.
Jacques said mathematics scores are down across the state, as well as in town. Twenty four schools are newly classified as "warning" this year, she said.
The following lists how schools tested in math compared to their target scores:
* Centredale scored 55.2 percent proficiency, not meeting the target of 70.7 percent proficiency, with an error of 7.9 percent.
* Whelan met the 74.3 percent target proficiency, with an error of 7.9 percent, by scoring 67.4 percent proficient.
* Greystone did not meet 66.7 percent target proficiency, with an error of 7.5 percent, by scoring 47.6 percent proficient.
* McGuire scored 57.3 percent proficiency, not meeting the target of 66.3 percent proficiency, with an error of 7.4 percent.
* Marieville technically fell short of the target 58.0 percent proficiency, with an 8.0 percent error, by scoring 44.9 percent proficient, but RIDE noted they did meet the target for making "sufficient progress."
* Stephen Olney surpassed the target 78.9 percent proficiency by scoring an 89.0.
* Birchwood exceeded the 48.4 percent target by scoring 48.5 percent proficient.
* Ricci scored 47.4 percent proficient, meeting the target of 53.0 percent proficiency with a 7.0 percent error.
* NPHS met the target of 34.5 percent proficiency with a score of 36.5 percent.
Jacques said she has met with principals from each of the "warning" schools to review data and work on math implementation in the new common core-aligned curriculum, which was just completed.
The district is also looking to put more money into professional development for math, Jacques said. Unlike at the high school, elementary school teachers do not have as much common planning time built into the day, nor with as much structure, she explained, though elementary school principals have implemented volunteer after-school professional development time.
"That's our big focus district-wide, but especially at the elementary level," she said.
Gap areas that come from students with IEPs not progressing as well as other students is also a reason schools tested low. Stephen Olney did not have such gaps, Jacques said.
Schools must also keep progressing, she said, to maintain a high ranking. Whelan's spot on the top of the list last year as a "commended" school meant it had farther to fall when its math scores slipped more than others, she said, even when both the math and reading scores met target proficiency.
"Our scores actually aren't that bad when you look at other schools," Jacques said.
Reading scores in comparison to the schools' individual target scores follow:
* Centredale met the 76.5 percent proficiency with a 7.3 percent error by scoring 72.7 percent proficient.
* Whelan scored 80.9 percent proficient, meeting the target of 78.2 percent.
* Greystone did not meet the target of 76.7 percent proficiency with an error of 7.0 percent, by scoring 68.2 percent proficient.
* McGuire scored 69.0 percent proficient, meeting the target of 73.3 percent with an error of 6.9 percent.
* Marieville did not meet the target of 67.1 percent proficient with an error of 8.0 percent, by scoring 56.5 percent proficient.
* Stephen Olney exceeded the target of 83.3 percent proficiency, by scoring 89.6 percent.
* Birchwood met the target of 80.5 percent with a 5.2 percent error by scoring 78.7 percent proficient.
* Ricci scored 79.6 percent proficient, meeting the target of 72.2 percent.
* NPHS scored 84.3 percent proficient, meeting the target of 85.9 percent with a 4.7 percent error.
Jacques said transferring to a new curriculum at the same time that new teacher evaluations are being implemented could have led to students' scores.
"We're trying to juggle several balls in the air," Jacques said.
RIDE defines a "warning" classification as, "A combination of low achievement in reading and math, unacceptable achievement gaps, and/or little or no progress in improving achievement or graduation rates."
"Warning" schools are identified by any of seven criteria: index score of less than 50; proficiency of 10 or fewer points; gap-closing of fewer than 15 points; growth of 7.5 points or fewer; improvement plus graduation of 10 points or fewer; low graduation rate over time; or participation rate of less than 95 percent.
These schools will implement a plan for improvement on a limited scale without RIDE oversight, as would exist with lower scores of "focus" or "priority."
"Intervention-light," Jacques called it, noting that with 24 more schools falling into the "warning" category this year, RIDE officials have told her the plan does not have to be submitted because of a lack of manpower to review them.
Principals began working with the RIDE-approved Rhode Island Association of School Principals Instructional Leadership Academy last year, Jacques said, and they will continue this year. The program helps principals help the teachers in their schools.