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Schools rate exceptional in report cards

All seven schools rate the same school characteristics catergory
A week ago, report cards were sent home to Crook County parents to reveal how their student is doing in school.
   This week, the Oregon Department of Education released their own report cards, revealing how Crook County schools measure up.
   The report card echoed Crook County schools' standings in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) at the federal level.
   However, on a statewide level, the report cards are in contrast of NCLB ratings.
   The state report cards rate about 97 percent of Oregon schools as satisfactory or higher, including 85 percent of Oregon high schools. The ODE rates unacceptable, low, satisfactory, strong, or exceptional.
   However, NCLB reports found 71 percent of Oregon schools meeting federal standards, and only 26 percent of Oregon high schools.
   Interestingly enough, both the NCLB ratings and state report card results were based on data collected from the 2003-04 school year.
   The reason the Oregon report card scores are different than NCLB findings is because the school report cards weigh schoolwide averages.
   However, the NCLB act analyzes how each group of students - special education students, minority students, English as a second language, among others - does in testing.
   Unlike other parts of the state, for Crook County schools the data is almost mirrored between NCLB and the state report cards.
   Cecil Sly, Powell Butte, and Ochoco Elementary Schools had a "strong" overall rating, and Crooked River Elementary had a "satisfactory" overall rating. Paulina was not rated. Crook County Middle School and Crook County High School were deemed "satis
   All seven Crook County schools scored "exceptional" under the school characteristics category.
   Data collected from CCMS showed a slight decrease in reading and math scores from the 2003-04 school year.
   "Our staff has been working hard for past five years of aligning our curriculum with the state standards," said CCMS Principal Rocky Miner.
   "The previous three years from this report card, our scores improved. Yes, we were disappointed in some of the dips in scores this year, but we will continue to analyze our test scores and work on strengthening the areas that were weak and help our students be successful," he continued.
   Ochoco Elementary improved in the assessments and attendance category from previous years. Specifically, third- and fifth-grade test scores in reading and math improved by a minimum of 9 percent from the previous year.
   Dane Danforth, former principal of Ochoco Elementary School, believes improvements at Ochoco were made the last two years because teachers were consistent with the school's student curriculum, assessments, and expectations.
   "The teachers work really well there as a staff," said Danforth.
   Both Miner and Swisher believe it is important for parents to keep in mind that each year a different group of students is tested.
   Although the ODE report cards and NCLB reports may be slightly different for some parts of the state, Swisher thinks that the two help paint part of the school's overall picture.
   "In general, I think the Oregon report card is more reflective of an overall school's rating, but it doesn't tell the whole story either," said Superintendent Steve Swisher.
   He encourages parents to keep in close contact with their children's teachers and principals.
   "I would encourage parents to stay connected with their school, volunteer when they can, and most importantly, make sure they are talking with their children about their school work and how it's progressing," said Swisher.
   The NCLB concentrates on schools meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
   If a Title I school does not meet AYP there are various repercussions, including losing part of their Title I funding.
   For the 2003-04 school year Cecil Sly, Crooked River, Ochoco, and Paulina Elementary Schools all met AYP. Crook County Middle School and Crook County High School did not meet AYP.
   Both CCHS and CCMS do not receive Title I funds and are not subject to the NCLB sanctions.
   State Superintendent Susan Castillo has called for changes by 2006-2007 in the state report cards.
   Unlike NCLB, there are no consequences to the state report cards.