In the 2019 Maryland school star ratings released Tuesday, 22 public schools in Carroll County stayed at the same rating and four improved, but 12 lost one star of five.
Out of 38 schools in the Carroll County Public Schools system, about 92% achieved a four- or five-star rating, slightly down from 95% in 2018, the first year star ratings were used to assess Maryland’s public schools.
In total, 35 of the 38 Carroll public schools are rated four or five stars this year, down slightly from 36 last year.
However, 12 Carroll schools saw a drop of one star off of their 2018 rating. In 2018, only The Gateway School and Flexible Student Support were below four stars. This year, Westminster’s West Middle and East Middle schools fell to a three-star rating.
Four Carroll schools raised up a star level. Eldersburg and Winfield elementary schools raised from four to five stars, the highest possible rating. Flexible Student Support, which provides part-time educational opportunities for high school students countywide, went from three stars to four. The Gateway School, Carroll’s alternative high school, rose from one star to two.
The ratings are based on a variety of criteria, from student achievement on tests to attendance to whether students are offered a well-rounded curriculum. This year was the first when science test scores and surveys from students in grades 5 through 11 and educators were included in the criteria.
The state did not immediately release the questions in the surveys or provide more context for the survey scores.
A searchable and sortable table of all schools in Maryland is available at carrollcountytimes.com.
This year, every school in CCPS is above the lowest rating of one star. Only about two dozen of the state’s approximately 1,300 schools scored one star.
On the other end of the spectrum, 190 schools, or just above 14% of the state’s schools, scored a five-star rating. Nine of them are in Carroll.
In a CCPS news release, Superintendent Steve Lockard said, “We are proud of our outstanding schools and their performance. These results illustrate the impact of the quality of educators, school leaders, and staff we are fortunate to have working within Carroll County Public Schools.”
Lockard continued, “These new insights will provide a more comprehensive view of each of our schools. Although we are very proud of our current performance, this new perceptual survey data will provide additional insights to assist us in providing a more contemporary and responsive learning environment."
In a later interview with the Times, Lockard added that much of the data included in the report cards is data that the school system had access to already.
But some of the data, such as the student and employee survey portion, is new. The new data points “add to the bigger picture of school performance,” he said.
The survey of school climate is a good opportunity to look at areas that are important to CCPS, Lockard said. Students and staff are “more than a snapshot in time of a test score.”
Principals and school improvement teams are ready to unpack and take a hard look at the results, he said. The next meeting of the Performance Academies — in which teams of teachers from each county school come together to discuss the best use of CCPS resources to make improvements — is set for January.
All seven traditional high schools in CCPS stayed at the same rating as 2018, either four or five stars.
In the county’s public middle schools, one school remained at a five-star rating and three remained at a four-star rating. Four schools dropped a star. Two dropped from five to four, and two dropped from four to three, making them the only traditional schools in Carroll to rate below four stars.
Two elementary schools rose from four to five stars. Two stayed at five stars. Nine stayed at four stars. And eight dropped from five to four stars.
Individual schools within CCPS planned to send out Report Card results to parents Tuesday, according to the news release.
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Overall, the statewide ratings showed a movement toward the middle, with fewer schools achieving very high or very low star ratings. Statewide, 55% of schools achieved a four or five-star rating, down from about 60% in 2018.
In the Baltimore region, Baltimore County showed the largest decline and Anne Arundel County the largest improvement over last year.
In Baltimore County 34 schools dropped to three stars from four stars. Six county schools, all of them elementary schools, dropped to four stars from five stars. In Anne Arundel, the number of schools with four star ratings doubled to 48, and its schools with five stars also increased.
The scores are part of the accountability system required by the federal government under the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.
The Maryland State Department of Education’s School Report Card website, MdReportcard.org, includes updates to school assessment results, including percentile rankings, star ratings, state science assessment results for elementary and middle school students, and indicators of school improvement.
Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie contributed to this article.
This story has been updated.
A previous version of this story misstated the number of Carroll public schools that did not change its star rating from 2018 to 2019. The correct number is 22.