Nashville schools on top 3 levels of state list
By John R. Schirmer
All four campuses of the Nashville School District were in the top three categories of school rankings released last week by the Arkansas Department of Education.
Rankings were based on test scores and other data from the 2011-12 academic year.
The state established five categories, with the top ranking listed as exemplary. The second level is achieving, with achieving/needs improvement third, needs improvement/focus fourth and needs improvement priority fifth.
Most of the state’s schools fell in the second or third category, according to Superintendent Doug Graham.
Locally, Nashville Junior High was on the achieving list, or level 2.
Nashville High School, Nashville Primary and Nashville Elementary were listed as achieving/needs improvement, or level 3, Graham said.
“They didn’t close the achievement gap” between sub-groups and the general student population, according to Graham. “There was lack of movement.”
Primary school was one student away from making the achieving list, Graham said. An appeal to move up was denied by the state.
The current academic year is the first using the state’s new ranking system.
“A year ago, we had three campuses we felt really good about,” Graham said. “Then the rules changed completely. They flip-flopped. We will accept the rules and address student needs.”
Achieving schools meet all of the state’s standards, including reducing the achievement gap. Achieving/needs improvement schools have at least one area to improve. “Level 3 gives us something to work toward,” Graham said.
Exemplary, achieving and achieving/needs improvement schools do not face any state sanctions, Graham said. “Only those at level 4 or 5 have sanctions.”
For 2012-13, Nashville administrators and teachers “will analyze the raw data. We’ll take the targeted groups and close the achievement gap. We want to get everything to level 1 and 2,” Graham said.
State figures show 5 schools reaching exemplary status. There are 341 achieving schools and 587 achieving/needs improvement.
The list includes 157 schools in the bottom two categories.