Oak Park schools hold steady on state report cards

D97 has 4 'Exemplary' schools; SAT scores at OPRF outperform state

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

The Illinois State Board of Education released the Illinois Report Card on Oct. 30. The annual report "shows how the state, and each school and district, are progressing on a wide range of educational goals," according to ISBE's website.

"The Report Card offers a complete picture of student and school performance in order to inform and empower families and communities as they support their local schools," ISBE explains.

To access the Illinois Interactive Report Card, a web-based version of the report card that "allows for users to view performance comparisons between school and districts, review trend data, and break data into subcategories," visit illinoisreportcard.com.

The annual report shows that students at Oak Park and River Forest High School continue to outperform the state average in both the English Language Arts and Mathematics portions of the SAT. 

In 2019, 35 percent and 31 percent of OPRF students who took the SAT met and exceeded state standards in ELA, respectively. Those numbers are roughly on par with 2018, when 32 percent met and 31 percent exceeded state standards in ELA. In 2017, 30 percent met and 36 percent exceeded state standards in ELA. 

In math, 34 percent of OPRF students met state standards on the SAT in 2019, while 25 percent exceeded them. In 2018 and 2017, the percentage of students meeting math standards was 31 percent and 37 percent, respectively. The percentage of students exceeding state standards in those years was 25 percent and 20 percent. 

In 2019, 26 percent and 11 percent of students across the state met and exceeded state standards in the ELA part of the SAT, respectively. In math, 26 percent and 9 percent of students in Illinois met and exceeded state standards, respectively. 

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, "Illinois has four summative designations: Exemplary School, Commendable School, Underperforming School, and Lowest-Performing School."

A Commendable school is a public school that is not among the 10 percent of public schools across the state granted Exemplary status. Exemplary schools do not have any underperforming student groups. This year, as with last year, OPRF was designated Commendable. 

In a statement released Oct. 30, District 200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said that "while we are happy to be in the Commendable category, we have higher expectations for ourselves." 

This year, District 97 had four schools receive the Exemplary designation — Mann, Irving, Holmes and Hatch. That's up from just two (Mann and Whittier) in 2018. The district has five Commendable schools — Julian, Lincoln, Longfellow, Whittier and Beye. Brooks Middle School was the district's only underperforming school in 2019. 

Four schools, including Hatch, Holmes, Irving and Julian, improved their designations from last year. 

 In an email statement, Amanda Siegfried, D97's communications director, said that, despite its designation, Brooks "saw improvement in two of our student groups that were identified as underperforming last year, and we strive to continue that improvement for each and every student group this year." 

Eboney Lofton, D97's chief academic and accountability officer, said the district relies on "multiple sources of data to tell the achievement stories of our students," including more informal assessments at the classroom level. 

"The stories of our students do not begin and end with the school report card," Lofton said. "The relationships they form, the learning that happens in and out of the classroom, and the experiences they take part in are all important parts of addressing the needs of the whole child." 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

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Kevin Peppard  

Posted: November 9th, 2019 12:08 AM

Outperforming the State on SATs at OPRF is no particular achievement when one considers our demographics vs. Chicago, the south suburbs, rust bucket towns such as Joliet,, and the rural parts of Illinois. Another look outside the report card data is the "5 Essentials" survey taken yearly by the University of Chicago. This queries Teachers, Students and Parents. Respectively, 82%, 92%, and 21% responded, somewhat typical of the State except the Teacher response rate was higher at OPRF. The parent number is small, and may reflect those parents who are actively involved, so it is questionable. Here are the Ratings: 1) Involved Families: More than Average; 2) Ambitious Instruction: Average; 3) Supportive Environment: Average; 4) Collaborative Teachers: Less than Average; 5) Effective Leaders (Administration): Least. None scored in the category Most. Within the Effective Leaders, the subcategory Teacher Principal Trust, the score was a 9 out of 100 -- a real problem. This category is based solely on the 82% of the Teacher-Respondents. And now the school is embarking on a huge structural change, on a wobbly base.Here is the link: https://www.5-essentials.org/illinois/5e/2019/s/060162000130001/ That measure deserves its own story, not focus of the piece above, with rose-colored glasses.

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