Report shows D181 students excelling

At least 50 percent of Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 students show greater academic achievement than their peers in comparable districts, a report shows.

“For the first time, we have all nine of our buildings in the high growth, high achievement quadrant for both reading and math,” Tracey Miller, director of assessment, instruction and evaluation, told board members at their Monday meeting. “We’re very, very excited about this.”

The Similar Schools Insight Report provided by the Northwest Evaluation Association identifies schools across the country that are comparable to those in District 181 based on the percentage of students who receive free/reduced lunch services, who live in a similar area (rural, suburban or urban) and who took fall 2021 and spring 2022 Measures for Academic Progress tests. Paired students are in the same grade level, have identical fall MAP RIT scores and had a similar number of instructional weeks prior to the assessments.

The 50th percentile represents expected growth. In reading, schools ranged from 53.5 percent growth to 64 percent growth. In math, the range was 50 percent to 62 percent.

When looking at individual grade levels, all are meeting or exceeding matched growth expectations in reading and six out of seven grade levels are doing so in math.

Most District 181 students are achieving higher than their peers regardless of their initial level of achievement in reading and math, Miller noted.

She will be discussing the data with school principals over the next week or so, she told board members.

“It is great to see this performance,” Superintendent Hector Garcia said. “That fact that this is the first time we’ve ever seen performance this high in as long as we’ve taken a look at our Similar Schools Report is really a testament to the collaborative atmosphere that has been established between parents, students, staff and administrators.”

The fact that students reached this level of performance after enduring two years of COVID-related challenges is a testament to the work the district is doing, board member Sinead Duffy said.

“I think it’s the opposite of the newspaper headlines we’re seeing across the country,” Duffy said. “Congratulations to the district for all the hard work you’ve done.”