Westside superintendents respond to new school report

Westside superintendents respond to new school report

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - More than 800 Arkansas schools "need improvement" because they did not meet their annual achievement goals.

The Arkansas Department of Education released their annual accountability report Tuesday. Eighty-four schools were added to last year's list. Out of over 1,000 public schools, only 67 were classified as "achieving."

"A lot of our schools show need improvement," said Brenda Tash, assistant superintendent of Westside Consolidated School District.

According to the new report, there are no "achieving" school districts in Region 8. The only public school in Arkansas to achieve "exemplary" status this year was Bergman High School in northern Arkansas. In 2013, there were only nine exemplary schools. Tash and Superintendent Bryan Duffie encourage parents to look at the bigger picture.

"Just because a school may be "needs improvement" may not mean they are a C or a D school, they may score higher based on other factors," Duffie said.

If a school is already scoring in the high 80's or 90's, it might be harder to make improvements. According to the report, Westside School District scored 79.9 percent in Literacy, 77.7 percent in Math and has a graduation rate of 75.9 percent.

To see the results of other Region 8 schools, you can visit: https://pddavis13.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/school-rankings.pdf

"They look at the score the students made the previous year then they follow that student to see if he/she made growth as an indicator," Tash said.

She said as a district they are looking at skills students need to develop rather than just their test scores. The district switched to common core three years ago and have been teaching from those standards ever since. Westside has been working on a strategic plan to advance their district in the next ten to fifteen years.

"We have made some upgrades to our facilities and we continue to look at that and then the budget to really look at how we spend our dollars," Duffie said.

According to the report, 85 schools will remain as "focus-needs improvement" schools, because of the achievement gap. Almost 40 schools will remain as "priority-needs improvement."

To see the complete list of school performance reports, visit the Arkansas Department of Education's website by clicking here.

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