Lynnville-Sully achieves consecutive exceptional report card rankings (Hometown Press article)

posted Dec 22, 2017, 4:18 PM by

The Iowa Department of Education released the latest results of the Iowa School Report Card, a web-based school ratings system, on Dec. 13 and again Lynnville-Sully Middle School and High School have received exceptional ratings.

L-S Middle School ranked number one for exceptional middle schools in Iowa for the second straight year. L-S Middle School tallied 73.5 points, ranking them ahead of the likes of Ankeny’s Southview Middle School, Pleasant Valley Middle School, Gilbert Middle School, and more placing in the top three percent of all Iowa middle schools.

“The middle school rating of exceptional is very encouraging for our students and school community. The students are asked to demonstrate their learning many different ways throughout the school year. Iowa Assessments is one of those opportunities, and I appreciate the way the students take pride in their academic performance,” said L-S PreK-8 Principal Teri Bowlin.

At the high school level, L-S tallied 75.1 points, earning an exceptional rating for the third consecutive year and placing in the top one percent of all Iowa high schools.

“The high school is very excited to be rated as exceptional for the third straight year. It is always great to be recognized as one of the top four high schools in the state,” said L-S High School Principal and Technology Director Shane Wheeler. “When the high school receives a rating like this, it is a reflection of how hard our students, parents, and district staff have worked to prepare our students to be successful. Even though we have an exceptional rating, our scores in certain areas show we still have room for improvement, and I know the staff will continue to work on how we can make a better educational experience for our students.”

Lynnville-Sully elementary found their previous rating of “commendable” downgraded to “needs improvement.” L-S elementary was among 28.6 percent of Iowa public schools who received a lower rating than last year. L-S PreK-8 Principal Teri Bowlin notes she and staff members began constructive dialogue last spring when Iowa Assessment scores came back lower than expected. Since then, L-S elementary classroom teachers, interventionists, and special education teachers have attended training, analyzed data, and selected class-wide intervention that meets the needs of students, and have focused professional development sessions on reading and math instruction.

“We have evaluated how we are using our curriculum materials to instruct students. Most recently, we are engaging in work to ensure teachers have assessment tools and strategies to continuously know how to adjust the pacing of their instruction and provide reteaching or additional support when necessary,” said Bowlin.

A partnership with Heartland AEA has been deemed valuable to students receiving special education services and intervention. Special education teachers and interventionists have evaluated the instruction provided to all special education students to make sure the instruction provided is a clear match for each individual student. Staff members also consult with Heartland AEA personnel each month to evaluate the progress and make instruction adjustments as necessary.

Bowlin shared with elementary staff members at a recent meeting, the Iowa Department of Education’s quote when interpreting overall ranking scores that in part states, “An overall school rating does not provide contextual information about a school nor does it make a conclusion about the quality of the staff or provide important information about ongoing work to raise student achievement. The report card should create a constructive dialog between educators, administrators, and parents about the work that is currently under way in the school to support all students in achieving their full potential.”

“I am very proud of all of our teachers, preK-12, and their devotion to our students,” said Bowlin. “We have a continuous improvement mindset and whether a building's ranking is exemplary or needs improvement, we are all looking for ways to better ourselves as educators to provide a high quality experience for our students and their families.”

The Iowa School Report Card was launched in 2015 as part of a state legislative requirement and rates public schools on measures of achievement including student proficiency rates in math and reading, student academic growth, narrowing achievement gaps among students, college and career readiness, student attendance, graduation rates, and staff retention. Based on each school’s performance over a two-year period, the report card assigns one of six ratings: Exceptional, high-performing, commendable, acceptable, needs improvement, and priority. The Iowa School Report Card is updated annually to reflect the most recent statewide student assessment results.