Fort Wayne Community Schools Earn an "A"

By Rachel Martin

August 29, 2011 Updated Aug 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) –Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) earned an “A” Monday morning under Indiana’s Public Law 221 for the 2010-2011 school year. This is the second year in a row that FWCS has received this ranking.

Fifteen schools in the district scored an “A.” That is nine more than last school year, a 50-percent increase. Those schools include Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, Brentwood, Croninger, Glenwood Park, Indian Village, Irwin, Lincoln, Nebraska, Saint Joseph Central, Scott Academy, Shambaugh, Study, Waynedale and Weisser Park elementary schools, and Memorial Park Middle School.

FWCS earned 71.3 points, a 3.8-percent improvement from 2009-2010. A school must have 70 points to be considered an “A.”

In addition to the 15 “A’s”, 44 of the 49 schools in the district scored a “C” or above, that is nearly 90-percent. However, Kekionga, Lane, Miami, Portage, and Shawnee middle schools all ranked below average, receiving “D’s” and “F’s.” That means those schools are on Academic Watch or Probation.

Twenty-two schools in the district also made “Adequate Yearly Progress,” the highest ranking under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act, which is also tied to Public Law 221. Public Law 221 determines a school’s ranking based on ISTEP+ scores, attendance, and graduation rates.

Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson credits the success to the teachers, who have been focusing on higher academic achievement rather than test scores. Dr. Robinson said because of that, this ranking is not an anomaly.

“When you change job descriptions, when you help people understand how to improve, when you remove the fear of testing and having your data analyzed publicly, we think that is what really caused all the improvements and achievement over the last several years.”

Dr. Robinson also credits leadership, accountability, and involvement from principals, teachers, and parents for supporting changes like LEAD.

As for the five lower-ranking schools, FWCS officials said they will continue to focus on the “Triple P” approach to educating students: using precision, personalizing instruction, and professional learning by teachers. That philosophy has been helping to improve school rankings every year. Every school in the district also has a professional development coach that works with teachers on a weekly basis to improve instruction skills.

“We are pleased with our ranking because I think in this competitive environment in education, it’s clear that the Fort Wayne Community Schools are the best bargain in town. We provide consistency, we provide steadiness, we provide a family environment where every single child matters,” Dr. Robinson said.

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