Student essay – could have been mine
According to state-mandated testing, schools on the eastern side of town are whuppin’ those in the middle and the west. A couple of readers sent me the official data yesterday and if I can figure out how to post them, I will. In the meantime, Greenwich Time provides an english translation.
Eastern Middle School, The International School at Dundee, Greenwich High School, North Mianus School and Riverside School were cited as Schools of Distinction for strong performance by the whole school or a student group. But Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon and Western Middle schools each missed their overall SPI targets.
The SPIs point to an entrenched trend of disparate test scores in the district, which separate performance along socio-economic, racial and ethnic and linguistic proficiency lines. Greenwich has a districtwide achievement gap, according to a performance indicator that compares overall scores to those of schools’ black students, Hispanic students, English language learners, students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches and students with disabilities. Districtwide, the difference between a majority of those groups’ SPIs and the district’s overall performance index of 89.3 for CMT performance totals more than 10 points, resulting in the gap designation.
Julian Curtiss, Central Middle School, Western and Greenwich High have intraschool achievement gaps, according to the same metric.
Greenwich’s school SPIs range from a district low of 72.7 at Hamilton Avenue to a high of 96.6 at Riverside.
The state classifies students qualifying for discounted lunches, ELL students and students with disabilities as “high needs” students. The student populations at Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon and Western include large numbers of these pupils.
All district schools placed within one of the state’s top three school classification categories, which are based on test scores and high-school graduation rates.which refers to schools that achieved all SPI targets. As a prerequisite to attain that level, Glenville, ISD, North Mianus, North Street, Old Greenwich, Parkway, Riverside and Eastern reached the top level, “Excelling,”
Cos Cob and Central’s results qualified them for the second tier, “Progressing.” Cos Cob recorded an overall SPI of 86.7, while Central’s totaled 89.5 overall.
Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon, Western Middle and Greenwich High* schools ranked in the third tier, “Transitioning.”
“There should be no relationship between economic status and how well you do in school,” said John Curtin, the district’s special projects manager. “For us, that gap in achievement is a major focus. We need to make sure that every kid has an equal opportunity to achieve.”
* If I get the bureaucratese correctly, GHS is on two different lists, one showing it as “exceptional”, the other that places it as “transitional” (bad place to be). Its placement on the second list is because it has an” intraschool achievement gap”, meaning that the kids from, say, the eastern schools are doing fine, those from Western are not.
If I were looking for an explanation of the results, I’d look first to how many non-English-speaking students and students with learning disabilities are in each school, then at the home environment of the poor kids and, finally, IQs. There’s not much to do about any of those factors, and spending more money or moving the children to, say, Riverside School won’t change test scores.
But another PC study can’t hurt and will keep our educators busy for months.