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School Report Cards Released Today

Fort Smith Public Schools have received state-issued report cards, and the grades look good overall. Led by Cavanaugh Elementary School which earned an “A” – two letter grades higher than its previous ranking – 15 schools improved by a letter grade, and all but one of the district’s schools exceeded the state’s growth indicators.

With the approval of Arkansas’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan earlier this year, Arkansas has adopted a new school accountability model that measures student and school performance on standardized test scores, academic growth and graduation rates. The new model also reflects other factors that contribute to school quality and student success such as concurrent credit, industry certifications, and participation in Advanced Placement® courses, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.

  • Overall, Fort Smith Schools fared well in the 2017 ESSA report cards:
  • Of the 25 schools, five received an "A," six received a "B," 12 received a "C," two received a "D." Belle Point did not receive a letter grade in either the 2016-17 or the 2014-15 reports.
  • Of the 25 schools, two had scores that increased by two letter grades since the 2014-15 report. (No letter grades were issued in the 2015-16 report cards.) 
  • Of the 25 schools, 15 had scores that increased by one letter grade since 2014-15.  
  • Of the 25 schools, eight had letter grades that remained the same. 
  • Of the 25 schools, two had a decrease of one letter grade.
  • A School Value-Added Growth Score of 80 indicates that students, on average, met expected growth. Of the 26 buildings, 24 had a student growth score exceeding 80. 

Belle Point Center, A New Tech Academy, does not receive a letter grade through the ESSA reporting system. Students attending the center must be assessed like all other students. Student performance information for Belle Point students is embedded within the data of a student’s home school.

Dr. Doug Brubaker, FSPS Superintendent, said, “In these reports, we see many exciting accomplishments to celebrate and some very important growth areas to address. Our state has had three different testing regimens over the last five years. Now, with the assessment instrument determined, accountability formulas established, and this baseline set of ratings assigned, we will expect to see even higher levels of academic achievement in the future. The expansion of opportunities for students to earn college credit and industry certifications over the course of four years in high school would also contribute to student success that would be reflected in future campus ratings.”

Plans for supporting student success include:

  • Accelerating the literacy, math and science achievement of all students and engaging in daily, robust interventions that target a student’s particular needs.
  • Establishing benchmarks and reviewing quarterly student performance data.
  • Reviewing current teaching and learning practices as they relate to School Quality and Student Success (SQSS) measures, and ensuring that educators understand the significance of each indicator.
  • Developing and implementing more robust procedures to ensure the data quality.

With its 2017 designation as an Arkansas School of Innovation, Northside High School is implementing an array of student support initiatives designed to improve student achievement. Although the school missed a C by a fraction of a point, school leaders believe the changes will result in improved academic performance. Anticipating the 2018 assessment cycle, campus leaders at Kimmons Junior High School have increased classroom observations and are using common assessments and data meetings to identify students who will benefit from additional support and intervention strategies.

All schools will submit annual School Improvement Plans to the District by May 1, 2018. School Improvement Plans are approved by the District and the School Board, then posted to each school’s website by Aug. 1 each year.

To learn more about how schools scored, visit the My School Info website at myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov. To better understand what these scores mean, see the informational documents on the Arkansas Department of Education’s website at https://bit.ly/2GvljUD.