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School marks mixed

State School Report Card
Culver schools got good marks on the annual State School Report Card, but three 509-J schools received "in need of improvement" scores.
   State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo released the report card ratings for Oregon's K-12 public schools, Oct. 6. Schools are rated outstanding, satisfactory or in need of improvement.
   The Oregon School Report Cards provide a thorough overview of school data. This data includes Adequate Yearly Progress ratings, information on student test performance and school improvement, attendance, graduation rates, dropout rates, class size, SAT scores, expulsions due to weapons, teacher education and experience, and information on student growth.
   Local districts
   In the Culver School District, the elementary, middle and high school all received "satisfactory" ratings for 2010-11, the same as the year before.
   Culver Superintendent Stefanie Garber said the rating, "Shows we are definitely headed in the right direction. But our goal is to be rated outstanding, and we will continue to work on that with our staff."
   In the 509-J District, Buff Intermediate and Metolius Elementary received "satisfactory" ratings; Madras Primary and Big Muddy School were not rated (due to a small number of students or being a new or reconfigured school); while Madras High School, Jefferson County Middle School and Warm Springs Elementary all received "in need of improvement ratings." MHS moved down a step from its "satisfactory" rating the year before.
   At JCMS, Principal Simon White said the middle school narrowly missed a satisfactory rating. "For student achievement, we were at 57.8 percent and 60 percent is satisfactory," he said.
   In the area of attendance, White noted, "Our rate was 92.1 percent, which is outstanding.
   Warm Springs Elementary Principal Dawn Smith said the state's increased math levels are what led to their lower rating.
   "We made improvements in math, but the (state's) different cut scores didn't boost our improvement ratings. We made strong gains in reading, and we've met attendance (levels) for two years in a row," Smith said.
   Despite the state report card rating, Smith noted, "We're happy with the gains we made in reading and math last year."
   MHS Principal Sarah Braman-Smith said students have made great improvements in math and English language arts.
   The lower score on the State Report Card was because, "Attendance was down (89.2 percent compared to 92 percent needed), and there was a change in the way they calculated the graduation and dropout rates, so we missed the mark in that area also," she said.
   She said the staff at MHS is working hard to improve math, reading, attendance and graduation rates, but they need help from parents.
   "This is also a call out to the community for support. If you are having trouble getting your students to school, give us a call so we can work on it together," she said.
   Castillo noted the increased benchmarks. "Our schools are working incredibly hard to meet higher state and federal standards, but as anticipated, fewer Oregon schools received an outstanding rating on the report card this year," she said.
   "We have raised the bar in math, toughened graduation standards, and asked our schools to meet more challenging federal expectations. We have done all of this because we know these higher standards are the right thing for our students and our state," Castillo said.
   "There is clearly still work to be done to get all of our students and schools to meet this higher bar -- but as I look at the gains in student achievement we saw this year, I know our schools are on the right track," she added.
   Statewide
   . 28 percent of schools (333 out of 1,182) were rated outstanding (last year 37 percent) on the State School Report Card.
   . 64 percent of schools (751 out of 1,182) were rated satisfactory (last year 59 percent).
   . 8 percent of schools (98 out of 1,182) were rated in need of improvement (last year 4 percent).
   Some 104 schools were not rated due to their small size or because they have been open for less than two years.
   Recentchanges
   As Oregon raises standards and places increased emphasis on college- and career-readiness, changes have been made to the school and district report cards to ensure the ratings remain accurate and reflective of those priorities and goals. Changes this year included:
   . Graduation rates based solely on the percentage of students who graduate within four or five years of entering high school.
   . Increased scoring on graduation rates in the high school formula.
   . Changes to the achievement index used in rating high schools.
   . New graphs illustrating growth in math achievement at the elementary and middle school level (needed due to the change in math achievement standards).