School district pleased with state report card

District report cards issued by the state show Tigard-Tualatin students' averages exceeded all state average test scores

Despite a few surprises and drops in ranking, the Tigard-Tualatin School District had a pretty good week earlier this month.

State report cards showed that none of the schools in the district were ranked below 'satisfactory.' The district report card showed that Tigard-Tualatin students exceeded all state averages in testing for reading, math, writing and science.

And the district's drop out rate for the 2004-2005 school year saw a decrease to an average of 2.25 percent - close to the statewide goal of 2.2 percent.

'I (felt) really good about the week,' said Superintendent Rob Saxton commenting on the multitude of statistics and rankings handed out by the state two weeks ago.

The report cards for each school in the state were released Oct. 9. Ranking the schools from 'unacceptable' to 'exceptional,' the cards showed that the Tigard-Tualatin School District had no school fall below a 'satisfactory' ranking.

Relying on a combination of test scores and attendance rates, the rankings were of little surprise to most schools.

Twality Middle School actually saw a jump in ranking from 'satisfactory' to 'exceptional' - skipping the ranking of strong along the way.

'It was an increased focus on instructional strategies,' said Twality Principal Pat Sharp as she explained how the students' test scores rocketed the school report card ranking.

But she was realistic, adding that next school year the school would not expect to see such a sizeable increase in achievement.

'It's always a nice surprise, but with it comes the challenge of maintaining it,' Sharp said, adding that the school had an 'exceptional' ranking three years ago.

Fowler and Hazelbrook middle schools did fall in their rankings this year. Both were ranked 'satisfactory,' where as last year both schools received 'strong' rankings.

Fowler Principal Ted Feller and Hazelbrook Principal Ernie Brown both attributed their schools' drop in ranking to attendance scoring.

Fowler and Hazelbrook received 'strong' ranking in academic achievement but were ranked 'satisfactory' in the behavior/attendance portion, which dropped the schools' overall ranking.

'We were disappointed by the drop,' said Brown, 'but very pleased and excited regarding student performance. We showed significant improvements and that's what we're really trying to achieve.'

The district report card was issued Oct. 13 and mailed to every parent in the district. Under 'District Information,' percentage bars show students in Tigard and Tualatin, on average, exceeded the state's average testing scores. And Saxton says that's pretty common.

'I think we should do better than the state average,' Saxton said. 'I'd like to see us widen that gap.'

During the first week of October, the state also issued the dropout rates for every school district in the state. And while the state average rate for the 2004-05 school year lingers above 4 percent, Tigard-Tualatin saw a 2.25 percent rate. Both Tigard and Tualatin high schools saw decreases in their dropout rates, according to the numbers. Tualatin High dropped from a 2.9 percent to a 1.9 percent rate. Tigard High dropped from a 2.8 percent to a 2.6 percent rate.

Saxton was eager to point out the dedication that district employees have toward knowing and following every single struggling student in the district.

Saxton noted that in the area of academics the district is still striving for improvements.

'The focus really is on what kind of growth the students have over time,' he said.