Carroll County Public Schools came out on top of the new Maryland Report Card scoring system, with 95 percent of schools receiving four- or five-star ratings.
At noon Tuesday, the State Department of Education released its new system that rates every school in each system based on a five-star rating. The new rating system, was developed by state leaders over two years, and is part of an accountability system required by the federal government under the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA as it is known, The Baltimore Sun reported. According to The Sun, the ratings grade schools in a more holistic way, factoring in not just test scores but whether the school has a well-rounded curriculum and whether students are chronically absent.
Statewide, 70 percent of schools earned three or four stars out of five, according to The Sun.
In Carroll, Gateway School, CCPS’ alternative school, received a one-star rating and Flexible Student Support, which is made of three major components — the Student Support Center, the Distance Learning Lab, and Career Research & Development — received three stars. Every other school received four or five stars.
CCPS has 25,290 students enrolled, and enjoys a 95 percent attendance rate and 95 percent graduation rate, according to the report card.
CCPS Superintendent Steven Lockard said now that the school system has the report, staff has begun working to unpack the data.
“We’re really proud of our system’s accomplishments,” he said.
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Lockard acknowledged the low scores on Gateway and Flexible Student Support, and said they recognize it’s an area that needs work.
Greg Bricca, the chief of strategic planning and system performance with Carroll County Public Schools, said part of that score is the fact that the rating takes into account items like testing and attendance, which are usually issues with which students at Gateway and in the Flexible Student Support program struggle, and what makes them candidates for these programs, he added.
“They’re always going to have a challenge based on the population,” Bricca said.
The current report is calculated based on “achievement in student growth on state tests in English Language Arts and math; post-secondary readiness; progress of English learners in achieving English language proficiency; graduation rate; and students with access to and earning credit for a well-rounded curriculum,” according to MSDE.
In later years, according to MSDE, the report will also include science and social studies achievement as well as the results of a student/faculty survey.
Despite areas that could see improvement, Lockard emphasized that CCPS should be proud of the scores it received.
“These results don’t happen by accident,” Lockard said. “This is a culmination of a lot of hard work.”