School Report Card: BSGE Middle School Gets a “B” Reply

Yep… It’s that time of the year again. Parents and teachers worry about getting their kids ready for the State tests, students working harder than ever and the principals… AAhhh, they are anxiously awaiting their second annual letter grade progress report card… And the letters are in…What did we get? We passed!
Baccalaureate School for Global Education (BSGE) Middle School received a solid B for its performance during the school year 2007-2008.         That’s a whole grade higher than last year. Our middle school rose to achieve 58.1 points, out of a possible 106.  The school gained a little more than 9 points from last year when its overall score was 48.8 points and a C.  The school would have needed 7 more points to get an A!
Nevertheless, even though the school received a higher score than last year, it did not comply with the expectations of the Department of Education (DOE).  Every year the DOE establishes an improvement “target goal”, or a score that the school should reach, based on the areas that need progress. According to last year’s BSGE Progress Report, in 2008 the school was supposed to get an overall score of 63.8. But the middle school fell almost 6 points behind the DOE performance expectations. “This school did not meet its improvement target from last year”, states the Progress Report that can be access in the DOE website (www.nycenet.edu).
The Department of Education evaluates the schools in four categories:  Learning Environment, Student Performance and Student Progress. This last category carries the biggest burden in the overall score. Student Progress takes up 60% of the final grade; five percent more than last year. This category gives schools points for moving the students up academically. Specifically in middle schools, it measures the average of student improvement from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year. In fact, this was precisely the category that pushed BSGE scores up this year. In 2007, the Middle School moved up only 30% of the students. That number jumped to 50% in 2008. It is important to notice that the definition of the categories differs from Middle schools and High schools.
In the category of Learning Environment, in which the DOE evaluate factors related to attendance, safety, communication and learning conditions, the school scored 10.2 points, out of a possible 15. The school attained an A in this category.
The other category is Student Performance. As explained by the DOE, when evaluating Student Performance the Board considers students’ testing levels on English Language Arts and Math. Last year this category was allotted a maximum of 30 points. This year that allotment was reduced to 25. BSGE got 18 out of the total amount assigned.
The NYC DOE also gives a maximum of 15 additional credit points to schools which “show exemplary gains among high need students”. For the second consecutive year, BSGE receives O points in this category.
This is the second year New York City schools receive a grade for their performance, allowing parents and the public to judge and evaluate their work. In their own words, “the Progress Report… also enables the students, parents and the public to hold the NYC Department of Education and its schools accountable for student achievement and improvement and for insuring a high quality education for every students”.
Developed in 2007 by Mayor Bloomberg and School Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Progress Reports are given to about 1,244 New York City public schools. Scores range from an A through F.  “Schools are assigned letter grades based on their overall Progress Report score. Schools that get As and Bs are eligible for rewards. Schools that get Ds and Fs, or 3 Cs in a row, face consequences”, says the Report. Rewards and consequences however are not specified.
The number of NYC public schools receiving a failing grade (F’s and D’s) dropped from 13% to 9%, leaving us with less schools to worry about.  In the meantime schools receiving A’s increased by 5 percent, from 25% to 30%. Those receiving B’s also increased from 35% to 45%.
Overall, BSGE did better in most of the categories than last year. It stands next to another 45% of NYC middle schools which also got B in their Progress Report. However, its “score places the school in the 50 percentile of all middle schools”. It means that 50 percent of all middle schools scored lower than BSGE.

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