South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Lindbergh board, administrators discuss achievement

Principals highlight ‘glows’ and ‘grows’

Lindbergh Schools administrators recently came together to discuss their academic success and share areas they need to improve with the Board of Education — although, for the highest-performing academic district in the state, there is more of the former to talk about than the latter.

Overall, Lindbergh students ranked No. 1 in the state in their proficiency scores in the key areas of math and communication arts, with six schools in the top 10 in the state for their scores.

Of more than 600 middle schools in the state, both of Lindbergh’s are in the top five: Truman is the top-ranking middle school in the state, with Sperreng ranked fourth-highest. Concord Elementary is second and Crestwood Elementary is third in the state for elementary scores.

Although every principal showed off their “glows” — aspects of the scores they are proud of — and their “grows” — areas where they want to see improvement — overall, the district has a lot to be proud of, board member Vicki Englund said.

“No one in the state has slides that present as many 100s,” she said. “It’s amazing to see 100-percent (scores) anywhere, but to see almost exclusively 100 percent in every category is just phenomenal.”

Board member Mark Rudoff said, “It shows not only the progress we’ve made, but the innovation and the teamwork and the new things we’ve tried. And I cannot be prouder of where the district is now, especially compared to where we came from.”

The Missouri School Improvement Program, or MSIP, 5 standards rank districts and schools not just on raw scores but also how they help five demographic subgroups achieve. The subgroups include blacks, Hispanics, children with disabilities, English-language learners and students from households with lower incomes.

In Concord Elementary’s third year as a school and second year of test data, Principal Megan Stryjewski outlined the school’s positive test scores that helped make it the second-ranked elementary school in the state last year, up from fourth the year before.

Highlights of Concord’s achievement include its “cohort report,” the report showing progress that the same group of students makes year-on-year.

“You can see that they’ve grown every single year and that’s exactly what you want to see,” she said. “That’s the perfect graph … I stood in front of you for a lot of years saying, ‘We have great scores, but we need some work in our subgroups.’ … And this year we saw a ton of growth in our subgroups, and that’s with a lot of hard work.”

In her first year as a principal, Crestwood Elementary Principal Jodi Meese said she hopes to achieve the same high scores the school received under her predecessor, former Principal Scott Taylor, who retired at the end of last year.

Among the highlights, fifth-graders showed a 17-percent increase in their science scores, which is a payoff for the effort teachers put into their science curriculum last year, she noted.

“Very exciting. I know they worked really hard last year to really think about inquiry in science and how to use those science notebooks,” Meese said. “And make sure students are becoming scientists and understand the whole process of what they have to go through. A lot of what’s tested is about the method and how students are able to figure out that inquiry.”

Kennerly Elementary came close to receiving 100 percent in its scores, Principal Todd Morgan reported. To achieve that ranking next year, the school will focus this year on helping its students in subgroups.

Among the school’s highlights in achievement were its fifth-graders, who increased their math scores by 8 percent. Its subgroup results increased by 10 percent.

Long Elementary Principal Jana Parker reported that overall, all of Long’s math scores were greater than 80 percent, and its science scores were particularly high, after a focus on hands-on learning and investigating using the scientific method.

Sappington Elementary Principal Craig Hamby talked about how the school was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Part of the criteria for that prestigious award was the school’s MSIP 5 scores. The school saw growth in its cohort scores, showing how students improved while at Sappington.

“If we did everything perfectly, there would be no difference between our total scores and those subgroup scores,” he said, pledging to eliminate the gap between students’ overall achievement and achievement in the school’s subgroups.

Sappington has the largest number of subgroups in the district and a growing group of English language learners, now comprising more than 10 percent of the school population, Hamby noted.

Students from Sappington and Kennerly go to Sperreng Middle School, which achieved some of the highest scores in the state on its tests last year, Principal Mark Eggers said.

Overall, Sperreng ranked fifth in math and communication arts, following Truman Middle School’s No. 1 ranking.

In science, Sperreng ranked seventh in the state and Truman third. Sperreng consistently sees a dip in mathematics scores from fifth to sixth grade. Eggers was unsure of a reason, other than students adjusting to middle school and multi-tasking as they take on more classes.

“I wish I had the answer to it,” he said. “I don’t like it. I want to see that trend go up and up and up, through 12th grade. The nice thing is we’re having this discussion over numbers that are in the 80s for the most part.”

At Truman Middle School, Principal Tara Sparks reported that students got to celebrate their status as the top-ranked middle school in the state with ice cream.

Scores from the school actually went down slightly this year, but it was not ranked top in the state with the higher scores last year, she noted.

“The cohort growth is really where we see the meat and potatoes of what happens with our students,” she said, pointing to an overall upward trajectory as students move from year to year.

In his first year as Lindbergh High School principal, Andy Croley talked about last year’s scores, which grew in every area and ranked the school 11th among high schools in the state. Overall, the scores were excellent with the exception of social studies scores among the school’s subgroups.

“I see (subgroup achievement) as a ‘glow’ and a ‘grow,'” he said. “We’re doing much better than the (rest of the) state, but when we talk about the achievement gap, this is an area where we need to work.”

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