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SW schools ranked in new rating system

Schools throughout Oregon have received performance ratings under a new school accountability system provided for by a recent statewide waiver of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind.

Last month, Oregon became the 32nd state to be granted flexibility from specific mandates of No Child Left Behind by the U.S. Department of Education in exchange for transitioning students, teachers and schools to a system aligned with college- and career-ready standards for all students, developing differentiated accountability systems and undertaking reforms to support effective classroom instruction and school leadership.

Under Oregon’s new system, schools are evaluated on criteria including academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates, with additional ratings based on the same criteria for subgroups such as special education students, English language learners and all students who are American Indian/Alaska Native, black, Hispanic or Pacific Islander. These scores are then weighted to produce an overall rating on a scale of 1 through 5.

Ainsworth and Bridlemile elementary schools and West Sylvan Middle School were among 10 schools in the district that received overall ratings of 5. Capitol Hill, Hayhurst, Maplewood, Rieke and Stephenson elementary schools, Robert Gray Middle School and Wilson High School each received an overall rating of 4. Markham Elementary School, Jackson Middle School and Lincoln High School received overall ratings of 3.

Adhering to the ESEA flexibility guidelines, Oregon’s new rating system also ranks the success of Title I high-poverty schools. The bottom 5 percent of schools receive a “Priority” designation. The 17 schools currently receiving ESEA school improvement grants, which are awarded to school districts with one or more persistently lowest achieving schools in the state, are also designated as Priority.

The bottom 15 percent of Title I high schools are designated as “Focus” schools, signaling that future interventions should be closely targeted to subgroup needs rather than whole school reform.

Taking cues from Colorado’s rating system, the top 5 percent of Title I schools in Oregon are designated as “Model” schools that will help share best practices and guide other schools toward better student outcomes in the future.

Markham is the only Title I school in the Southwest Portland area. Because it received an overall rating of 3, it ranked too highly to receive a Focus school designation and not highly enough to be designated a Model school.