Friday, February 28, 2014

LO students exceed both State & County averages in all subjects on MEAP!

The Michigan Department of Education has released the results of the fall 2013 Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP), the annual statewide assessments for Michigan students in Grades 3-9. 

  • Lake Orion students have exceeded both the State and County averages in all subjects. 
  • For grades 3 through 8, LO students rank 2nd in Reading in the County, surpassed only by Birmingham!  
  • At the 6th and 8th grade, LO students rank #1 in the County in Reading!
In looking at MEAP merged across grade levels 3-9, how did our students’ performance compare to the performance of students in other Oakland County districts?

-  2nd in Reading (grades 3 through 8)
-  8th in Mathematics (grades 3 through 8)
-  4th in Science (grades 5 and 8)
-  6th in Social Studies (grades 6 and 9)
-  6th in Writing (grades 4 and 7)

Friday, February 21, 2014

sNOw day decision

So, when are we going to know if or when we have to make-up days for school closures “due to conditions not within our control?”  Our district has had a total of ten days of school cancellations this winter (eleven in one school because of an additional power outage day and a couple less in another because of the year-round calendar). The first six of these days are “forgiven” by the State, which leaves us with more than a few to make-up.

Let’s back up for a minute…in Michigan, for the current school year, districts are required to have 170 days of instruction.  Oh, but wait a minute!  That’s not for everyone. The minimum requirement doesn't apply to all districts because of a very odd stipulation in the school aid act However, a district shall not provide fewer days of pupil instruction than the district provided for 2009-10.”

A few districts, like ours, exceeded the 170-day requirement in that school year and have had to maintain more days since then.  In fact, at the elementary level we have 176 days, at the middle level 177 days, and at the high school 180 days. Translated, that means we are held to a higher standard because we have been required to maintain more days than many other districts.

Now, how does this affect make-up days for school closures?  Well, I’m not a math wizard, but by my calculations, because of the 6 “forgive-me-days”, schools are now required to be in session 164 days if they cancelled school because of conditions beyond their control.  And, common sense would indicate that those who have been required by this 2009-10 stipulation to maintain more than the 170-day minimum should be able to use their additional in-session days as make-up days as long as they are in session 164 days.

This would mean we would not need to make up any days and it could snow a few more (I should bite my tongue!)  Check out my math:

Elementary 176-10= 166 days in session (+2)
Middle 177-10= 167 days in session (+3)
High School 180-10=170 days in session (+6)

But, because we are stuck in this “doesn’t-make-any-sense” stipulation indicated above, we can’t use these extra in-session days to offset the days out and have to make up days even though, with our cancellations, we still have more days of instruction than many other districts.

And, you’ll just love this contradiction…districts that have more than 170 days of instruction not because of the 2009-10 stipulation but because they just added more days since that year get to use their "surplus" days as make-up days if they have gone over the 6 freebies!

I have written to our legislators, the Michigan Department of Education and the State Board of Education - and, actually, anyone who would listen to me - asking that our “surplus” days also count for school closures as long as we maintain the minimum requirement for everyone else of 164 days.  I have also asked that this crazy 2009-10 stipulation language be removed from the school aid act and I will keep you informed. 

If anyone would like to let our legislators know how we are adversely impacted, this link will take you to their contact information.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lake Orion Schools rank in the state's top 15% for helping students succeed beyond expected achievement!

This week Bridge Magazine, in collaboration with the Lansing-based research firm of Public Sector Consultants, created a ranking system measuring a school’s test scores adjusted for student family income, which is often a predictor of academic achievement. In essence, it is a ranking not of achievement, but overachievement. In other words, the analysis shows which Michigan schools do the best job in adding value – helping students succeed beyond expected achievement.
According to the analysis, a score of 100 indicates students are achieving at expected levels for their income level. The higher a school's score, the better their students are performing on standardized tests. Scores below 100 indicate that students are not achieving at expected levels for their income level.
With a score of 105.63, Lake Orion ranks in the state’s top 15%; 81st overall out of 540 public and charter schools.  In Oakland County, Lake Orion ranks 7th out of the 28 school districts. (see chart for Oakland County rankings)