Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 21, 2013

State A to F grades finally released

Value of accountability system called into question earlier this year

Delays and disputes aside, Indiana schools finally received their A to F accountability grades Friday, with more schools earning A’s and fewer earning F’s than in the previous school year.

Across the state, 938 schools (45 percent) earned A’s on the 2013 report, compared to 856 (41 percent) in 2012. This year, 451 schools landed at the B level, 372 received C’s and 209 got D’s. Only 5.4 percent of schools (112) received F’s this year, compared to 6.9 percent (144) schools in 2012.

In Howard County, 11 schools received A’s, four earned B’s, six had C’s, one received a D and two got F’s. Thirteen of the 24 schools improved upon their grades from 2012 or maintained an A.

The biggest jump came from Bon Air Elementary School, which rose from an F in 2012 to a B in 2013 after starting at an A in 2011.

Bon Air Elementary Principal Paula Concus credited teachers, students and a data-focused approach to improvement as the reason the school improved three letter grades.

“Our teachers learned new ways of looking at and understanding data, including what data has the strongest impact on instruction and the measurement of student growth,” Concus said. “Students also came alongside our teachers by learning their strengths, weaknesses and areas where they need to improve to become better learners. The Bon Air students truly took ownership of their learning.”

Central Middle School received an F for the third consecutive year under the grading system; the state can take over a school after six consecutive years of ranking in the lowest category.

Dave Barnes, communications director for Kokomo Schools, said Central Middle School’s transition to an International Baccalaureate school in May 2013 should yield improved scores in coming years. The corporation appealed this year’s F — although it was not granted — because the demographic of students has changed so much since last school year.

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