The Washington School District scored 98.1 percent of the points possible on its 2018 Annual Performance Report (APR) released Friday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann said the district’s score is up from 97.5 percent last year.
“This is great news and very exciting,” Straatmann said. “Every year we want to see our score go up. It’s something we strive for here.”
The APR is based on the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). Districts are graded on a wide range of data.
There are five areas in which school districts can earn points — academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rate.
The Washington School District has the second-highest APR score among the larger K-12 public schools districts in Franklin County and ranks high among districts in St. Louis County.
The Sullivan School District scored 98.3 percent and several smaller school districts in the county scored 100 percent, including Franklin County R-II, Lonedell, Spring Bluff and New Haven.
Districts must earn 70 percent or higher to be accredited. All of the districts in Franklin County far exceeded that percentage.
Straatmann noted that smaller school districts often don’t meet the minimum numbers of students in some of the subgroups for data to be extracted.
“In that sense, it can be difficult to make comparisons between the larger and smaller school districts,” she said.
Here is a breakdown by subgroup for the Washington School District:
In the area of academic achievement, the district earned 96.8 percent of the points possible, which means a high enough number of students scored in the proficient or advanced levels, in English Language Arts and social studies.
Straatmann said a field test was given for science this past year so that data was not applied to the overall score.
In math, the district’s score dropped from 100 percent to 75 percent due to a new and more rigorous test given.
Washington was not alone in experiencing a drop in math, but its score is still far above the state average.
DESE reported math fell 5 percentage points across the state to 42 percent from 47 percent. The percentage of students passing English exams statewide dropped more than 10 points, to 49 percent from 61 in 2017.
“The English and math tests were both new, while social studies stayed the same,” Straatmann noted. “We obviously want to earn 100 percent of the points possible in all content areas, so we will look at this data and develop strategies and programs to improve our score.
“Even with the English, although we earned all of the points possible, we will still break down all of this data into smaller components and identify our strengths and weaknesses so we can make changes and improve.”
In the area of subgroup achievement, the district made huge strides, earning 90 percent of points possible, a big jump from the previous year of 75 percent.
This score is based on the performance of students in identified subgroups, which include those students receiving free/reduced price lunch, racial/ethnic background, English language learners and students with disabilities.
Straatmann said she’s very pleased with the scores, noting the district earned 100 percent in the subgroups for English and social studies.
“This is exactly what we want to see,” she said. “We are very excited about these scores.”
In college and career readiness, the district earned 100 percent for the third year in a row.
The score is based on how well students scored on college and career-readiness tests and assessments.
Straatmann said this shows the district is providing strong postsecondary preparation for all students. She noted students are counseled to take assessments that best meets their career goals, as well as assessments that lead to earning credentials in the workforce. These tests include the ACT, SAT, Compass, WorkKeys and ASVAB (armed services aptitude battery).
High school students also have many opportunities to take Advanced Placement, college credit and Project Lead the Way courses which all help prepare them for their next step, she said.
Straatmann said the district also is doing a good job of collecting data from graduates to see where they have landed 180 days after graduation.
The district once again has earned 100 percent of the points possible for attendance, with 91.7 percent of students attending more than 90 percent of the days possible.
Straatmann said the staff continually works on monitoring attendance, and the goal is that all students attend 95 percent of the days, which is 5 percent higher than the state goal.
For the sixth consecutive year, the district earned 100 percent of points possible for its graduation rate.
Straatmann said the goal is that all students successfully complete high school.
Although the district’s four-year graduation rate dropped slightly from 91.5 percent to 90.7 percent, the five-year rate showed an increase.
Straatmann said the district is committed to assisting students who may require more time to earn their high school degree. She said counselors and principals will continue to develop strategies to help students.
Here’s how the other K-12 school districts in Franklin County performed on the APR:
Sullivan — 98.3.
Union — 92.9.
Meramec Valley — 89.9.
St. Clair — 89.2.
New Haven — 100.
Overall, Straatmann said the district fared extremely well on the APR which is “great news for our students, parents, staff and community.”
But, she stressed, the district is never satisfied and strives to do better each and every year.
“The district will continue to work hard to ensure students have the skills necessary to be successful in college or career when they graduate,” she said. “It’s always our goal to develop well-rounded individuals.