Wicomico schools fare well in new state ratings

Wicomico County schools received an excellent report card from the Maryland State Department of Education, with two-thirds of all schools earning four of a possible five stars.

The grades were awarded under a new measurement system only revealed this fall. They affect all public schools in Maryland.

Graded were all 10 elementary schools, and the two combined schools, Pittsville Elementary and Middle and Mardela Middle and High School.

Ratings included:

  • James M. Bennett, Parkside and Wicomico High Schools each earned three stars
  • Bennett Middle, Salisbury Middle and Wicomico Middle each earned three stars.

Results were announced at a news conference this week, prompting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hanlin to say the indicators will “allow us to celebrate our successes and help us ask questions, find answers, make decisions and act to make continuous improvements in our schools and our school system.”

On Tuesday, the state Department of Education released the new School Report Card Rating System, which includes a “broad selection of performance indicators to help measure how schools are doing and factors in proficiency on mathematics and English Language Arts assessments, progress in achieving English language proficiency for English learners, chronic absenteeism, preparation for post-secondary success, access to a well-rounded curriculum and graduation rate.”

Schools received points based on performance indicators.

A rating from one to five stars was given. The percentile rank is how a school performed compared to other schools in the category.

The total earned points percent is the number of points earned by the school across the measures, divided by the total possible points.

The state looks at the climate of schools, attendance and if students have the opportunity to access a well-rounded curriculum.

Overall academic successes are measured.

For elementary and middle schools, the percent of students proficient or advanced on state assessments for ELA and math is considered, as well as what percent of English Language Learners are making progress toward proficiency, the average performance level on the state assessment for ELA and math, how much growth students made from last year to this year on state assessments and what percentage of students passed a well-rounded curriculum.

That curriculum must include health, fine arts, social studies and physical fitness.

For high schools, the percentage of students proficient or advanced on the state assessments for ELA and math was determined, as well as what percentage of English Language learners made progress toward proficiency, what a school’s graduate rate is, what percentage of ninth-grade students earned four or more credits in Math, ELA, science, social studies or world language.

Also considered are the percentage of students that completed accelerated coursework or assessments.

Hanlin said she believes the report cards will “enable us to continue to strive to meet the needs of all of our Wicomico County students.”

“We hope you will review this School Report Card, and with the data in it become more informed about and engaged in Wicomico County Public Schools. Together we will strive for even higher levels of excellence for all of our children,” she said.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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