Saint Paul, Minn. (July 1, 2010) – Saint Paul Public Schools continued making overall incremental gains in the percentage of students who tested proficient on state mandated MCA-II math exams. Results made public today also show that the overall percentage of students who tested proficient in reading remained steady.
The 3.3 percent increase in math and the lack of a change in reading left the District short of its ambitious double-digit gains it set as a goal last year, however. While District officials are pleased with the successes that were shown by the results, there is disappointment that the goal was not met, said Chief of Staff Suzanne Kelly.
“We knew that a 10 percentage point increase in math and reading was ambitious and said as much when we made that as our goal,” Kelly said. “Our students and staff took that goal seriously and worked hard to achieve it. While we are proud of the work we all have done, we obviously recognize that we will have to reexamine our work to reach the double-digit gains that we know we must achieve.”
As an example of the successes achieved, Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet (middle grades) surpassed the goal in both math (14 percentage point increase) and reading (15 percentage point increase). At least 10 other schools met the goal in either math or reading and more than 12 other schools made gains of at least five percentage points in either math or reading.
Among the District’s other successes are that each of the student subgroups made increases in percentage of students proficient in math, led by Asian American students who had an increase of 5.9 percentage points in the number of students proficient. Additionally, Latino, African American, Caucasian, Special Education and Low-income students all made slight gains in reading.
Steps taken in recent months to help increase the percentage of students proficient include an audit of curriculum implementation, a refocusing on successful curricula and school reorganization combined with further examination of success within SPPS will help to guide the District as it works to increase the percentages of proficient students in the coming years.
“We need to raise the percentages, not to meet our goals,” said Superintendent Valeria Silva. “We need to do it because of what those percentages represent: The number of students who either are or aren’t proficient in math and reading. And those students can’t afford for us to make incremental gains.
“To get the results we want, we will not only have to work harder,” Silva said. “As we work to reinvent ourselves in tight budgetary times and return to a time when the school is the heart of the community, we will need to work smarter and become more focused. That is what our families and our community need and deserve.”
A sampling of SPPS highlights:
• The largest increase in percent proficient at elementary schools occurred at Como Park Elementary(+15 percent)
• Two other schools made the 10 percentage point goal in math (Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary+12 percent, Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet School +11 percent)
• Nine elementary schools had increases of between 5 and 9 percentage points in math: Four Seasons A+ Elementary (+6 percent), Prosperity Heights Elementary (+8 percent), Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet (+6 percent), Frost Lake Magnet (+7 percent), Hayden Heights Elementary (+6 percent), Ames Elementary (+5 percent), Groveland Park Elementary (+5 percent), Mississippi Creative Arts Magnet (+6 percent), Randolph Heights Elementary +6 percent, Linwood/Monroe Arts Plus (+6 percent), and World Cultures Magnet School (+5 percent).
• Farnsworth Aerospace (7, 8) Magnet, in the middle levels, exceeded the +10 percentage point goal in both subjects with a 14 percentage point increase in math and a 15 percentage point increase in reading.
• The highest junior high percentage of proficient students was at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet(grades 7 and 8, 82 percent), followed by Linwood/Monroe Arts Plus (grades 7 and 8, 54 percent).
• The largest increases in percent proficient in the junior high grades occurred at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet (+14 percent) and in grade 11 occurred at Open School (+29 percent).
• Two additional schools made the 10 percentage point goal at the junior high grades: Linwood/Monroe Arts Plus (+12 percent) and Washington Technology Middle (+11 percent);
• Harding Senior High School achieved the 10 percentage point goal in math (+10 percent), while Johnson Senior High School had a 6 percentage point increase.
• The largest increase in percent proficient occurred at Cherokee Heights West Side School of Excellence (+12 percent)
• Two other schools made the 10 percentage point goal in reading (Open School +11 percent and Roosevelt Elementary West Side School of Excellence +11 percent).
• Three elementary schools had increases of between 5 and 9 percentage points in reading: Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary (+5 percent), Expo for Excellence Magnet (+6 percent), and Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet school (+7 percent).
• The highest junior high percentage of proficient students was at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet (grades 7 and 8, 78 percent), followed by Murray Junior High School (56 percent).
• The senior high with the highest percentage of proficient students was Central Senior High School (70 percent), followed by Highland Park Senior High School (59 percent).
• The largest increase in percent proficient in the junior high grades occurred at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet (+15 percent) and in grade 10 occurred at Como Park Senior High School (+1 percent) and Harding Senior High School (+1 percent)