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Board seeks input on increasing scores

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The Flat Rock-Hawcreek school board will hear public testimony tonight about Hope Elementary School’s standardized student test scores.

Hope Elementary has been designated a priority school by the state Department of Education for earning an F in 2012, followed by a D in 2013 in the state’s A-F Accountability system.

The accountability program measures student performance, growth, improvement and participation on three statewide standardized tests.

Superintendent Kathy Griffey said the 6:45 p.m. public hearing will not be a dialogue. She said the school board will hear testimony but will not respond, although resident comments could be incorporated into the school improvement plan, which has been submitted to the state.

“It’s a living document that can be adjusted,” the superintendent said.

Principal Lisa Smith will present a report about the school’s progress during the regular school board meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, Griffey said.

The public hearing and action plan are just a few of the requirements for priority schools.

Hope Elementary and the other 201 priority schools in the state also must identify at least three Priority Areas of Improvement and be monitored by the state Department of Education a minimum of two times each year.

Priority schools also must ensure strong leadership by replacing the principal or demonstrating the principal’s record of improving student achievement and evidence the principal can lead the turnaround work, according to documents provided by the department.

Griffey said a process for potentially replacing the school principal is outlined in the requirements but said Smith will be evaluated based on a measurement tool with 10 indicators. The tool asks whether the principal uses data to establish a vision, whether the principal develops and promotes a coherent strategy and works collaboratively with staff and whether the principal communicates high expectations, among other points.

To exit the priority school status, Hope Elementary must achieve a C grade for two years in a row.

If Hope remains a priority school in 2014, the state Board of Education could appoint an outside team

to manage the school or assist in the development of a new plan.

Clifty Creek Elementary School in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., which was graded an F for three successive years, also has been identified as a priority school, and the school board will hear public testimony before its Feb. 24 meeting.

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