Seattle Public Schools news alert! The district promises to be more transparent henceforth. Yes, I know, you've heard it all before, but you might as well hear the latest version: On Tuesday, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson will give her State of the District address, which will include shiny new report cards for every school for the first time.
These reports will compare a school's individual growth with other schools in the district, and the information will be used to rate them on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest score. They will measure whether students are making individual gains on the state reading and math tests in relation to their peers. Schools that are stuck at level one for more than three years will be flagged—the district will investigate what's causing the problem, perhaps even borrow a page from the high-performing schools, and if all else fails, change the principal and teachers.
Student growth indicators will be used in the district's new four-tiered teacher evaluation system (.pdf), district spokesperson Patti Spencer said at a media roundtable today.
Poor student growth will trigger teacher evaluations—the subject of much controversy—which could lead to probation or suspension in case there's no improvement. Teachers who receive good evaluations will be awarded stipends and a chance to move up the career ladder.
How is this report different from No Child Left Behind's Adequate Yearly Progress report (which expects all schools to reach 100 percent proficiency in math and English by 2014)? "NCLB doesn't measure individual student growth," said SPS Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Brad Bernatek.
And what new information can parents expect? Bernatek said that the reports will have state test data in one place for the first time. It will also include "school climate data," which will tell parents whether their kids are behaving themselves or setting off stink bombs in hallways.