More schools get A’s, fewer get F’s in latest school scores

by Steve Brawner (BRAWNERSTEVE@MAC.COM) 856 views 

Close-up of a Report Card on a desktop with a mechanical pencil and text book.

Arkansas saw an 11% increase in public schools earning an A and a 14% decrease in schools earning an F on accountability reports released by the Arkansas Department of Education Wednesday (Oct. 9).

Meanwhile, eight Little Rock schools scored an F. It was the same number as last year, but not the same eight schools. Those scores had been reported Oct. 4 by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after it obtained them from the Little Rock School District via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Statewide, the number of schools receiving an F fell from 44 last year to 38, while the number of schools receiving an A increased from 152 to 169. The number of schools scoring a B decreased from 313 to 311, while the number of schools scoring a C decreased from 380 to 358. The number of schools receiving a D increased from 145 to 150.

The Every Student Succeeds Act School Index includes data from the 2018-19 school year including 2019 ACT Aspire results for students in grades 3-10, score improvements, student attendance, high school graduation rates and other factors.

The reports showed that 557 schools improved their ESSA School Index Score. The 2018 graduation rates improved for the third year in a row.

In Little Rock, the following schools scored an F: Baseline Elementary School; Hall High School; Henderson Middle School; J.A. Fair High School; McClellan Magnet High School; Meadowcliff Elementary School; Washington Magnet Elementary School; and Watson Elementary School.

Baseline Elementary, Henderson Middle, Meadowcliff Elementary, and Watson Elementary scored a D last year but moved into the failing category this year.

Little Rock schools moving from F to D this year were Bale Elementary, Cloverdale Middle School, Romine Interdistrict Elementary School, and Stephens Elementary.

The number of A-rated Little Rock schools increased from four to six. In that category, Gibbs Magnet Elementary School and Pinnacle View Middle School joined Don Roberts Elementary School, Forest Heights STEM Academy and Forest Park Elementary School.

Little Rock had three B schools, eight C schools and 15 D schools in the 2018-19 school year.

The grades were released the day before the Arkansas State Board of Education was to meet to decide on the details of the reconstitution of the Little Rock School District. Nearly five years ago, the State Board took over the district and dissolved the Little Rock School Board. At the time, Little Rock had six failing schools.

The reconstitution is to be considered at the end of the State Board meeting Thursday, Oct. 9. Also to be considered is whether the state will end collective bargaining of employee contracts with the Little Rock Education Association, the teachers’ union.

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, Little Rock Superintendent Michael Poore sent a letter to district employees warning them that employees who participate in a work stoppage are subject to termination under the district’s professional negotiated agreement.

Elsewhere, 11 of the 17 schools serving students in the Pine Bluff area received an F score. Those included all three schools in the Pine Bluff Dollarway School District: Dollarway High School; Matthews Elementary School; and Robert F. Morehead Middle School.

Also, four of Pine Bluff’s six schools scored an F: Broadmoor Elementary School; Pine Bluff High School; Thirty-Fourth Street Elementary School; and W.T. Cheney Elementary School.

The state took over the Dollarway School District in 2016 and the Pine Bluff School District in 2018.

Two schools in the Watson Chapel School District, Coleman Elementary School and L.L Owen Elementary School, also scored an F, as did the Pine Bluff Lighthouse Elementary and Southeast Arkansas Preparatory High School charter schools.

Both schools in the Lee County School District in Marianna, Lee High School and Whitten Elementary School, received failing grades. The state took over Lee County this year. Both Marvell-Elaine Elementary School and Marvell-Elaine High School received an F score. That district is classified as being in fiscal distress.

Two of West Memphis’ 10 schools received F scores: Faulk Elementary School and Weaver Elementary School. Two of the seven schools in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District also were rated an F: Murrell Taylor Elementary School and Warren Dupree Elementary School.

The other F-rated schools were: Blytheville High School; Capital City Lighthouse Lower Academy in North Little Rock; Clarendon Elementary School; Earle Elementary School; Forrest City Junior High; Lafayette County Elementary in Lewisville; Marion Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School; Microsociety Magnet School in Jonesboro; Osceola High School; Seventh Street Elementary School in North Little Rock; and Union Elementary School in Texarkana.

Results for each individual school are available at the Department of Education’s My School Info website.

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