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FSPS Announces Academic Success: 3 Schools Rise, 19 Hold Steady, and 3 Commit to Improvement

Each year, the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) releases the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) School Index Report* for the school year.  The annual ESSA Index* reports on student performance for every school within a school district by issuing a “School Letter Grade.” 

The ESSA scores for the 2022-2023 school year indicate that:

  • Three FSPS schools improved a letter grade (Fairview, Sutton, Southside);

  • 19 schools remained the same letter grade as the previous year; and

  • Three schools decreased a letter grade (Beard, Cavanaugh, Cook).

Multiple variables factor into the scores, including student attendance and individual student growth.  Letter grades typically have numerical categories (e.g., a letter grade A = 90-100), and while letter grades may remain constant, the underlying numerical score may have gone up or down from the previous year.

The latest state ESSA school index report reveals areas where each school can improve. The district views these scores as an opportunity to reassess its strategies, enhance its curriculum, and increase resources to support students and staff. FSPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski said, “We take these scores seriously and are committed to making the necessary changes to improve student success. Since the introduction of our Continuous Improvement Plan last year, we recognized that elevating math and reading scores across the district would require time.  We wholeheartedly embrace these scores and are dedicated to ensuring that progress continues and we remain optimistic about future scores.” 

The district’s Curriculum and Instruction Department has developed a comprehensive plan to provide support which includes:

  1. Student-centered instructional coaching;

  2. Consultants who work with teachers to implement the “Benchmark Reading Program;”

  3. Online tutoring is available 24/7 to students via the TutorMe program; and

  4. Curriculum for English language development via the “El Achieve” program.

*About the ESSA School Index

The ESSA School Index is made up of multiple, robust indicators which are outlined in detail below. These indicators are weighted according to the grade span of the school and are available for seven reporting subgroups of students.ESSA School Index Indicators

  • Achievement is a measure of what the students at a school know and are able to do in ELA and Mathematics.

    • Weighted Achievement counts for 35% of the ESSA School Index regardless of the grade span of the school.

  • Value-Added Growth is made up of Content Growth and English Language Proficiency Growth which is proportional to the number of English Learners enrolled in the school.

    • Content Growth is a measure of a student's progress in ELA and Mathematics over time.

    • English Language Proficiency Growth is a measure of an English Learner’s progress toward proficiency in the use of the English Language over time.

    • If there are zero (0) English Learners in the school, the Value-Added Growth score comes strictly from the Content Growth Score.

    • If all the students in the school are English Learners, then the Content Growth is averaged equally with the English Language Proficiency Growth score.

    • Value-added growth counts for 50% of the ESSA School Index for Elementary and Middle School grade spans and for 35% of the ESSA School Index for High School grade spans.

  • School Quality and Student Success indicators focus on student access, readiness, and success in college, career, and life. The eleven components within this indicator vary by grade span but may include: Student Engagement, Reading at Grade Level, Science Achievement, Growth in Science Achievement, On-Time Credits, GPA ≥ 2.8, ACT Composite ≥ 19, ACT Readiness Benchmark, AP/IB/Concurrent Credits, Computer Science Credits, and Community Service Learning.

    • The School Quality and Student Success indicator counts for 15% of the ESSA School Index regardless of the grade span of the school.

  • Graduation Rates are calculated for 4-Year and 5-Year Cohorts.

    • 4-Year graduation rates count for 10% of the ESSA School Index for High School grade span ONLY.

    • 5-Year graduation rates count for 5% of the ESSA School Index for High School grade span ONLY.