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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/11/13
RHS implements plans to
improve status with state
by CHRIS GRAYAs school begins for the 2013-14 year, Romeo High School (RHS) is aiming for a better status from the state by boosting student achievement through engagement and technology.
Observer Staff Writer
The Romeo Community Schools Board of Education learned what RHS staff is doing to raise student performance during its Sept. 3 meeting after learning the school earned lower scores in state evaluations.
In the state's latest School Accountability Report for evaluating schools, RHS received an "orange" status. This meant the school earned 50 to 60 percent of the points that show its has improved or achieved academic goals.
The school's Top-to-Bottom ranking also declined from last year, dropping from 75 percent to 61 percent.
RHS Principal Mike Kaufman said the reports show subgroups like economically disadvantaged students, special needs students and the bottom 30 percentile aren't meeting the state's standards for proficiency in core subject areas.
"We are orange because we need to do a lot more deliberate and focused work with our subgroups," he said.
He said staff members are focusing on economically disadvantaged students this year since it spans all subgroups, including special needs or the bottom 30 percent, in order to improve achievement.
"We wanted to be targeted and deliberate but also reach as many kids with that degree of deliberateness as we could," he said.
Michigan Merit Exam (MME) scores play a big role in identifying how a school is performing, with the data used for the state's school accountability report. For Romeo, the lowest scores were seen in reading.
Data from the past five years shows the average percentage of students proficient in reading was 33.4 percent on the MME. In 2009 it was 30 percent, gradually increasing to 38 percent in 2013.
"This is kind of consistent with our ACT reading scores in regards to not being all we hoped for," Kaufman said.
The average for reading on the ACT was 20.3 in 2013, down from last year's 20.6. In 2009, the average score was 19.2.
Kaufman said the school is looking to improve overall performance with data driven goals in all core areas and through increased engagement using technology gained through the $16.4 million technology bond.
"With the one-on-one technology implementation that we put in place I think it's going to be very impactful," he said.
Conflicting trends were revealed when comparing ACT and MME scores. For instance, MME scores dropped in science as of spring 2013, while the ACT scores are improving in the same year.
Kaufman said when examining the scores for the math, science and reading, more than 90 students in those areas tested college ready but weren't proficient on the MME. He attributed this to "test apathy."
"They know that if they do not perform as well on the MME it does not harm them individually," he said.
He said the school tries to encourage students with scholarships and similar incentives to take the MME more seriously.
Kaufman said despite these trends, RHS is "test savvy." The ACT composite has seen continual improvement, going from 19.4 in 2009 to 20.8 in 2013. The state average ACT composite was 19.7 in 2013.
Even with the improvements, the percentage of Romeo students meeting all four college readiness benchmarks on the ACT was 21 percent in 2013. This doesn't include International Academy of Macomb or Early College Macomb students, which Kaufman said would bump up the percentage by roughly 2 percent.
Kaufman said school-wide initiatives have been put in place to increase that percentage, and overall the school is reviewing its improvement plan.
"Those strategies and content area interventions and plans are aligned with individual teacher goals and objectives and plans for improvement," he said.
The average graduation rate for RHS is 90.8 percent from 2008 to 2012 for students earning a diploma in four years.