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SCHOOLS RECEIVE PASSING GRADES

Report cards for Oregons public schools are out, and Brookings-Harbor schools ranked from satisfactory to strong for the year 2000.

Brookings-Harbor School District 17-C officials welcomed the reports, but cautioned people not to take them too seriously.

The report card is a wonderful idea, its a role reversal in which we face the same accountability we ask of our students, said Superintendent Paul Prevenas.

But, he added, the report has its shortcomings.

First, its too short. The information is very limited and doesnt tell us as much as we need to know, Prevenas said.

Second, the statistics are fluffy.

Even officials with Oregon Department of Education, which issued the report cards, acknowledged that one students test scores or attendance record could skew the results significantly.

There are other inconsistencies as well, Prevenas said. I ask people to keep these ratings in perspective.

The report cards are part of the states effort to improve the public school system through accountability. The first report cards were issued throughout the state in 2000.

Each school can receive a rating of unacceptable, low, satisfactory, strong and exceptional. Very few schools are deemed unacceptable. Most fall in the satisfactory or strong categories, said Stan Bunn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Each school is rated in the following areas:

Student Performance: which is based solely on state assessment test scores in reading, writing and math.

Student behavior: which is based on attendance records at all schools in a district, and dropout rates at the elementary and high school levels.

School characteristics: which is based on the number of students who take the state assessment tests.

Overall, Azalea Middle School and Brookings-Harbor High School were deemed satisfactory. Kalmiopsis Elementary School ranked strong.

Upper Chetco Elementary, which received a strong rating last year, was not rated this year because not enough student took the state tests.

Upper Chetco will not be ranked next year either because of the schools recent change from having second through fifth graders to just fifth graders.

Prevenas and several principals pointed out that regardless of the ratings, each of the districts four schools showed continued improvement during the last few years in most areas.

We dont consider our students and the teachers satisfactory. Were better than that, said Sue Musser, principal of Azalea Middle School. Weve seen improvement, from 2 to 20 percent, in different areas.

Pointing out one of the reports consistencies, Musser said students scored strong, satisfactory and exceptional in three areas, yet the school overall was deemed satisfactory.

Musser, along with Principals Chris McKay (Kalmiopsis Elementary School) and Floyd Strandberg (Brookings-Harbor High School) said the each schools attendance ratings were greatly affected by last years two bomb scares.

We saw 100 percent of our attendance disappear on two days, Strandberg said.

Still, all three principals were aware that student attendance could be improved. They vowed to do that.

Weve already identified attendance as an area to improve, but its an area that we have the least control over, said McKay.

Bunn said the the state report cards system is a work in progress.

As we continue to gather data, we hope to include additional information, such as how districts are improving school safety, how education dollars are spent statewide, and how involved parents and community members are in their schools.

The Brookings-Harbor School District will mail the report cards for all four schools, and the districts, to parents before the end of March.

Specific information contributing to school ratings and report cards for all schools and districts in the state can be found on the Oregon Department of Education Web site at reportcard.ode.state.or.us.

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