Students and staff across the valley were notified of their school’s star-ranking on Tuesday. SWCTA earned five-star status for the 11th year in a row.
“I am very excited that we are still a five-star school,” Principal Donna Levy said. “We have never dropped in our entire 11-year history of this school. We have been five stars throughout and a lot of students and teachers work very hard to keep us there.”
The “measures in progress” have been reviewed, which allows teachers to take into account the different subgroups, that help compile the school’s score. White students, Hispanic students, black students, Asian students, male students, special-ed students and female students all have to meet a certain standard of academics, where the progress percent increases each year.
“The goal for next year is, although we are five-star this year, we have ranked the number one in the state for the last three years,” Levy said. “This year we dropped [two points] for chronic absenteeism. We have a goal to get you to come to school. The other thing we dropped points on was our science proficiency. It didn’t even come close to affecting our rankings but I’m a perfectionist and I want to get back to the very first slot.”
Compared to previous years, the school’s English and math proficiency rates both improved. English increased by 11.3% and the math increased by 10.8%.
“[Since] students do so well in our ELA, it certainly raises our overall score, therefore ranking” Assistant Principal Trish Taylor said. “I think you’ll find if you look at other schools around the district, that students typically score higher in ELA than they do in any other subject area.”
However, the science proficiency rate decreased by 18.3%. The science department has started working on finding the root of the problem and increasing the scores.
“There’s a disconnect between what [the teachers] are supposed to do and what the students think about the tests,” Physics teacher Patrick Waddington said. “It’s also that students take exams all throughout elementary and middle school, so when they take the science proficiency exam, they’re already burned out. As educators, we’re striving to make sure students keep that fire, so the scores can improve in the coming years.”