By Noah Alatza
Three Hamilton Southeastern Schools have dropped a letter grade according to the state’s annual school accountability report released Oct. 4. Harrison Parkway, Sand Creek and Thorpe Creek elementary schools dropped from an A to a B rating over the prior year.
HSE officials said that potential ISTEP scores had an impact on the schools’ grade fall.
“Absolutely ISTEP affected school ratings,” Janice Combs, assistant superintendent of curriculum said. “The impact from performance and growth was significant. Based on the scores, we are suring up some of the curriculum.”
Poor school accountability grades can lead to state intervention at public schools, however HSE schools has not fallen below state guidelines.
HSE Supt. Allen Bourff said the district always is attempting to improve scores, often weighing state average against schools in the district.
“When we talk about future performance, higher performance, we always gauge success against state averages; we want to see our percentages grow,” Bourff said. “We are constantly gauging ourselves and our performance on this.”
Bourff said the district believes all of HSE’s instruction is targeted towards deeper learning, test shifts and critical thinking.
“By targeting every school with students who didn’t pass the test, (HSE has) strategies to focus on those students, and to make sure they are successful,” Bourff said. “Each school has an improvement plan, which specifically targets skills that need addressed.”
Despite other schools in the county facing ISTEP problems, Combs said HSE has not experienced any technological or human errors.
The district had the second highest scores in Hamilton County in 2017, at 72.5 percent passing.
Both Fall Creek Elementary and Durbin Elementary Schools jumped from a B to an A rating.
“I am encouraged by the results of our current accountability grades as an indication of the great education Indiana students are receiving,” Indiana Supt. of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick stated in a press release from the Indiana Dept. of Education. “Our work, however, is not finished. As a department, we will continue to partner with stakeholders from the state level to the local community to ensure every school is successful and every student is academically prepared for the future.”