DOWNERS GROVE – A new designation on the Illinois Report Card offers good news for schools in Downers Grove Grade School District 58.
Eleven of the district's 13 schools earned an exemplary rating, the highest rating a school can receive.
The rating is awarded to the top 10 percent of schools that also have zero underperforming subgroups. Subgroups include the different demographics at each school.
Hillcrest Elementary School and O'Neill Middle School earned commendable ratings, the second highest rating, which includes schools with zero underperforming subgroups that are not in the top 10 percent of schools.
Within DuPage County, 21 percent of elementary and middle schools earned an exemplary school rating, while 75 percent were designated as commendable schools. Herrick Middle School is one of only three DuPage County middle schools to earn the exemplary designation, according to a District 58 news release.
"We are really proud of all our schools," Superintendent Kari Cremascoli said. "We've been doing a lot of work in regard to our curriculum."
Cremascoli credited the district's teachers for helping the district achieve the ratings.
"It absolutely comes down to our outstanding teachers," she said. "This is a moment of celebration."
The Every Student Succeeds Act is federal legislation that requires each state to develop its own plan in order to access federal grant dollars that ultimately flow to individual school districts.
As required by the act, each Illinois school received a summative designation – a rating on a four-tier scale. This rating is based upon a number of factors, including academic achievement, chronic absenteeism and academic growth, which comprises 50 percent of the overall rating.
The four-tier school designations are new this year and place an increased focus on student growth.
The state evaluates all pre-K through 8 schools on six indicators: academic growth (50 percent), chronic absenteeism (20 percent), English-language arts proficiency (10 percent), math proficiency (10 percent), English learner progress (5 percent) and climate survey participation (5 percent). Academic growth, proficiency and English learner progress is based on PARCC scores.
“The academic growth component accounts for 50 percent of the overall summative rating, which is a welcome recognition by the state of Illinois, as we have been emphasizing student growth as a significant measure of overall school and district success for many years,” Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul said in the release.
In addition, the Illinois Report Card also features PARCC assessment scores. The district’s spring 2018 PARCC scores show improvement in each area.
Students who met or exceeded English language arts standards improved by 9 percentage points between 2017 and 2018. In other words, an additional 275 students achieved English language arts proficiency in 2018 as compared to 2017. Students who met or exceeded math standards improved by 8 percentage points over the same year, according to the report card.