Ottawa area schools among best in the state, several “Reward” schools | Community Spirit
Despite Michigan Department of Education officials adjusting cut scores on state assessments, students in schools throughout the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) have again measured up on both the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).
While scores on these exams were somewhat lower generally, school officials say they believe the designations are only temporary and schools have – in many cases – already made adjustments to the learning process that address the state’s concerns.
“We are proud of our schools across the region in which the average school continues to rank within the top 25 percent of schools across the state, an impressive achievement to be sure. As we anticipated, however, MEAP and MME scores in this inaugural year of the new, higher cut scores were lower for most students. As a result, both district and building report card grades are also lower, as they are in nearly every school across the state,” Karen McPhee, OAISD Superintendent, said. “We are confident this change is temporary, due to ongoing school improvement efforts and student support already underway at all of schools throughout our region.”
Each year, Michigan public school students in grades 3 through 9 are required to take the MEAP, and 11th graders are required to take the MME. The state of Michigan uses the scores from these tests to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), a measure of year-to-year student achievement on the MEAP and the MME.
Last fall, the Michigan State Board of Education approved new MEAP and MME “cut scores.” Cut scores separate test takers into various proficiency categories such as advanced, proficient, partially proficient and not proficient. These new cut scores are higher and “raise the bar” for OAISD students.
Some schools are further broken down by the Michigan Department of Education into additional designations: “Reward” schools (Top 5 percent, Significant Improvement or Beating the Odds), “Focus” schools (10 percent of schools statewide with the largest achievement gap between the highest and lowest performing students), and “Priority” schools (Bottom 5 percent of all schools).
While OAISD had no Priority schools this year, 16 schools were lauded as Reward schools. Eight schools were designated as “Focus” buildings by the state of Michigan as well.
Buildings within the OAISD receiving a Reward school designation by the state of Michigan include:
- Douglas Elementary School, Saugatuck Public Schools
- Peach Plains Elementary School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
- Rosy Mound Elementary School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
- Lake Hills Elementary School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
- Holland Heights Elementary School, Holland City School District
- Waukazoo Elementary School, West Ottawa Public School District
- Coopersville East Elementary School, Coopersville Area Public School District
- Bauer Elementary School, Hudsonville Public School District
- Forest Grove Elementary School, Hudsonville Public School District
- Jamestown Elementary School, Hudsonville Public School District
- Baldwin Street Middle School, Hudsonville Public School District
- Holmes Elementary School, Spring Lake Public Schools
- Jeffers Elementary School, Spring Lake Public Schools
- Spring Lake Intermediate School, Spring Lake Public Schools
- Quincy Elementary School, Zeeland Public Schools
- Innocademy, Zeeland Public Schools
“These designations are a snapshot in time and we are proud of our Reward schools this year. Our teachers, staff, and administrators should all be recognized for their continued commitment to excellence,” McPhee said. “For our focus schools, any building receiving that state designation will receive increased resources and attention to assist teachers and school staff in meeting goals that affect positive changes in the classroom. In many of our cases, buildings that are designated as focus schools have also met AYP.”
Buildings within the OAISD receiving a Focus school designation by the state of Michigan include:
- Coopersville Middle School, Coopersville Area Public Schools
- Lakeshore Middle School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
- Holland West, Holland Public Schools
- Macatawa Bay Middle School, West Ottawa Public Schools
- Harbor Lights Middle School, West Ottawa Public Schools
- Lakeshore Elementary, West Ottawa Public Schools
- Lakewood Elementary, West Ottawa Public Schools
- Sheldon Wood Elementary, West Ottawa Public Schools
“Focus schools are making progress generally in terms of student achievement, but educators in focus schools are expected to concentrate school improvement efforts on closing identified achievement gaps in order to help all children reach their learning potential,” McPhee said. “When looking at AYP and report card grades, it’s important to note that our districts use several other measures throughout the year to ensure that students are making academic progress.”
McPhee said districts across the region will be further examining their curriculums to respond to the state’s higher achievement expectations. In addition, local schools and districts will focus professional development efforts on enhancing their ability to rise to the challenge presented by these recent changes.
“OAISD maintains high standards for our schools, and school districts that comprise the ISD routinely achieve standardized test scores and letter grades that are consistently among the highest in the state,” McPhee said. “We anticipate this trend will continue even with the changes in the accountability system.”