>Generally good news overall
Jefferson County Middle School improved, but Buff Intermediate and Culver High School dropped a notch on the 2011-2012 State Report Cards, which were released Oct. 11, by the Oregon Department of Education.
   The annual report cards rate schools based on student achievement, attendance, graduation rate, numbers taking the test, student growth, and demographics.
   This will be the final year of the current version of the State Report Card. Oregon has obtained a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind Act requirements by developing its own accountability and improvement system.
   The ODE can now remove the federal Adequate Yearly Progress ratings and redesign the report cards with better information on how students and schools are doing, according to Oregon Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton.
   "Our state is embracing a new model for education -- one that is better coordinated, more student-centered, and more focused on key outcomes. We need to have a report card that is aligned to, and supports that vision for education, and that is what the redesign process is all about," Saxton said.
   Under the new system, high-poverty schools are identified as "Priority" or "Focus" schools that need state support and interventions, or "Model" schools, which are examples of student success in poverty areas.
   Culver District
   In Culver School District No. 4, Culver Elementary and Culver Middle School received a "satisfactory" score, the same as the year before.
   However, Culver High School dropped from last year's rating of "satisfactory" to "in need of improvement" this year.
   Culver Superintendent Stefanie Garber said CHS scored well in the areas of academic improvement and graduation rate, but fell down in the area of "participation," or number of students tested.
   "We had two out of 40 students tested last year who didn't take the test. One was a transfer student, and the other was chronically absent," she said.
   "We should have done more to have them take the test, and we have better protocols for this year, so there won't be any children who do not take the test," Garber said.
   For the report card, students in grades three through eight, and grade 11, are tested in reading, math, and Culver students exceeded the state standards in seven areas.
   "We've been working so hard to figure out systems and strategies to reach every child, and next year should be even better," Garber said.
   509-J District
   In School District 509-J, Superintendent Rick Molitor said, "The report card is a shapshot of what we're doing and where we're at. Overall, we're very encouraged by the results."
   Jefferson County Middle School rose from needing improvement last year to a "satisfactory" rating this year, Molitor said, due to improved academic achievement and attendance rates and outstanding test participation.
   Metolius Elementary also earned a "satisfactory" rating for the sixthyear in a row.
   However, Buff Intermediate dropped from being "satisfactory" last year, to a rating of "in need of improvement" this year.
   The drop, Molitor said, was because "the academic achievement index needs improvement. The combined reading and math achievement rating was 45.8 percent, and the state target was 50 percent."
   Warm Springs Elementary and Madras High School maintained their "in need of improvement" ratings for another year.
   MHS was downgraded for its graduation rate. But in the areas of attendance, number of students meeting state standards, and test participation, MHS received "outstanding" marks.
   At Warm Springs Elementary, school attendance and test participation were satisfactory, but academic achievement needs improvement.
   "At Warm Springs, the combined reading and math score was 46 percent, and the state target is 50 percent," Molitor noted.
   The Big Muddy School was not rated due to its small enrollment; and Madras Primary (a K-3 school) was not rated because students don't take the OAKS test until third grade, so Buff school (grades 4-5) data is used to measure their progress.
   JCMS, MHS and Warm Springs Elementary have been designated as "priority" schools, and Buff Intermediate as a "focus" school, which means they receive educational coaches and other help from the state.
   "We are very excited over the improvements that are shown, but do recognize and know that we are working toward meeting satisfactory ratings and state standards," Molitor said.
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