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Trenton Schools Meet AYP, Receive 'C+' Average on State Issued Report Card

Career- and college-ready cut scores on state tests like the Michigan Merit Exam and the Michigan Education Assessment Program impacted the district's report card.

Today the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released its school report cards, which includes the list of schools meeting state standards through Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). And all Trenton Public School were successful in achieving AYP.

Both Trenton elementary school, and , received a "B" on their report cards, while and each received a "C." When averaged together the district scored a "C+" overall.

“We applaud the hard work and achievement of the educators and students in our Reward Schools because they are zeroed in on improving learning,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan in a press release. “We need to instill that goal in so many more schools, in order to help all kids be career and college-ready and successful in life.”

The changes this year may not matter in the long run. Because of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) , the state in 2012-2013 will no longer be measuring districts based on AYP. Starting next year, school districts will receive accountability scorecards that use five different colors to recognize varying levels of achievement and accountability for each school and district.

While Ann Denneroff, director of curriculum for Trenton Public Schools, said she was pleased with meeting AYP, she also said the results aren't the only way she defines success or failure for the district.

"It's one piece of the picture," Deneroff said. "Certainly we are pleased to make AYP. We were pleased to show progress in certain areas and we were concerned about not doing well in other areas."

Recently, Trenton . Trenton students scored four points lower than state averages in both math and science.

Deneroff said the district's report card scores were impacted by new cut scores.

"We are always striving to do better," Deneroff said. "With the new cut scores we knew there were going to be some adjustments because there have been a lot of changes. Based on the cut scores not as many students will be proficient."

Trenton compared to other districts

Trenton is not among a surprising list of southeast Michigan school districts that have gone from a passing AYP designation a year ago to failing today. In total, 262 districts (48 percent) statewide did not make AYP, compared to 37 (6.7 percent) last year. At the school building level, 82 percent of schools made AYP across the state, compared to 79 percent last year.

The increase of schools not making AYP is due in part to the now used on the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) and MME (Michigan Merit Exam) tests. In addition, the state now factors graduation rates for all students into the calculations and also now includes the achievement of certain student populations who previously may have not been counted.

In the past, districts only needed to meet AYP targets at one of three levels - elementary, middle and high school. Now, they are required to meet them at all three.

Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman for the MDE, said this year's designations put a focus on the achievement gaps between students and really tries to highlight the need for all students to achieve success.

"The goal is to have all students proficient, not just some," she said, adding that in the past there was the ability to mask poor student performance because the focus was on those students who were doing really well.

New school designations

While AYP was designed to measure student achievement as required by the federal NCLB, the waiver, received last month, frees Michigan from following some of the NCLB rules.

As a result of the waiver, the MDE has identified three new school designations: reward schools, priority schools and focus schools. Not every school fits into one of these categories. Trenton does not fall into any of these categories.

Reward Schools: The top five percent of all Michigan schools in the annual top-to-bottom ranking and the top five percent making the greatest academic progress over the past four years.

Priority Schools: Previously called persistently lowest achieving schools, these are now identified as those in the bottom five percent of the annual top-to-bottom ranking and any high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years. There were 146 priority schools identified this year. These schools will be required to come up with a plan to improve.  None of them are in Brighton.

Focus Schools: The 10 percent of schools with the widest achievement gaps, meaning the academic disparity between the top 30 percent of students and the bottom 30 percent. That list includes 358 schools, many who in the past would be considered high-achieving. The schools are now charged with bridging the gap.

“We are committed to closing the achievement gaps in all of our schools for all of our students,” Flanagan said in the release. “With this measure of transparency, schools will be identified and held accountable for the achievement of all of their students.”

Nate Stemen (Editor) August 02, 2012 at 06:16 PM
What surprises you, or doesn't surprise you, about these results?
sine-of-the-times August 02, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Nothing surprises me except for all the focus on tests scores from putting banners up in headlines to scare people, and to encourage them to think that public schools are failing, and then of course, we all leave them, so that corporations can do a better job with a select few kids that are "acceptable" to educate. That's the road that we are traveling on, and it is VERY scary. Remember that these scores should only be used as Ms. Deneroff said, as one small factor in evaluating success. I keep seeing posts of people saying "the schools are awful in Trenton, what happened to us, I'm leaving", etc...Standardized tests are becoming over-bearing indicators of success, and in what? Ask a kid if they really tried their best on the MEAP. Yeah, thought so.
sine-of-the-times August 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
here's a link to check out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/private-firms-eyeing-prof_n_1732856.html
ttownmom August 03, 2012 at 10:26 AM
The state raised the standards only to making public schools look bad so the For-Profit Charter Schools will get more students and more $. Do you really think they will do a better job?
sine-of-the-times August 03, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Also, using only test data, the governor has done what was not supposed to be done...instead of using test scores as a means to promote development in all schools, it is now being used to fire the principal and teachers at the schools that are declared "priority" schools, up to closing the schools altogether. No monetary support for these schools, but plenty of support if you are a "reward" school...from philanthropists, corporations and federal funds. These are schools that have low test scores due to poor economic areas, or poverty ridden schools. The governor would have you believe that it's the educator's fault. In fact, a school in Southgate is on a list, and it's the school for mentally challenged students (Beacon) who are forced to take the same tests as everyone else!! Now, do you think it is the teacher's fault? Let's urge the governor to understand WHY kids are failing and not blame it all on the staff. If you search the schools' data, of course, Grosse Ile is the best in the area...Allen Park, Woodhaven, & Trenton holds up, Southgate, Wyandotte, Lincoln Park is down there, and River Rouge, Ecorse at the very bottom. It has been this way for years using MEAP data as well.
Another Insider August 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
If you think this is low, just wait for future reading scores. The program MAKING MEANING recently adapted to use in elementary and middle school is a joke. Just another "feel good" program with very little for true evaluation. This decision was made by one or two in adminisration with no input from teachers except as an after thought when it was already selected. No chance for teachers to compare reading programs. Naturally it was based on RESEARCH...the same reason always given! This is the Trenton way of doing things for the past 10 years.
Sonya Smith August 28, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Can you tell me a little more about MAKING MEANING? I really would like to know more from an inside view. Thanks
Nate Stemen (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM
@Sonya Smith: I'd love to help, but I'm not sure what you are asking? Can you explain?

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