State releases Next Generation scores for schools

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The scores for the Naugatuck and Region 16 school districts under the state’s Next Generation Accountability System went down slightly overall in the 2018-19 school year from the previous year, but the growth made by students at a few schools earned state recognition.

The state Department of Education recently released the 2018-19 results under the accountability system, which grades schools and districts on a zero-to-100 scale using more than 12 different indicators.

The scores are based on a variety of indicators, including student performance on standardized tests, academic growth made by students, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism, graduation rates, post-secondary entrance rates, physical fitness and access to arts.

The statewide score for 2018-19 was 74.2, which is down 0.7 percentage points from 2017-18. Naugatuck’s 2018-19 score dropped 2 percentage points from 2017-18 to 71.3, while the score in Region 16 fell 1 percentage point to 80.5.

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said the 2018-19 index scores set a new baseline for school districts because there’s a new assessment in science that’s aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, and a new indicator for the progress of English learner students.

“The district is analyzing each of the 12 indicators and determining next steps for continuous improvement,” Locke said.

The state recognizes “schools of distinction” for high achievement or making significant growth. Hop Brook Elementary School, Western Elementary School and Andrew Avenue Elementary School in Naugatuck and Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls earned the recognition in 2018-19.

Hop Brook and Laurel Ledge were recognized for growth made by high needs students in English. At Western, performance and growth for all students in math and growth among high needs student in math earned the school the honor. Andrew Avenue received the recognition for growth in math by high needs students.

“We are thrilled that Hop Brook, Western and Andrew Avenue were classified as schools of distinction,” Locke said.

Special education students, English language learners and students with socioeconomic needs are considered high needs students.

The state also uses the scores to identify so-called focus and turnaround schools, which have the lowest scores in the state. No Naugatuck or Region 16 schools fell into these categories.

Region 16 didn’t have any schools of distinction in 2017-18. Western and Andrew Avenue earned the honor in 2017-18, as did Salem Elementary School in Naugatuck.

Michele Raynor, director of curriculum, instruction and assessments for Region 16, said the district also saw improvement in its chronic absenteeism rate and college readiness indicators, which measures several factors like scores on the SAT and the percentage of students that pass Advanced Placement exams.

While high need students at Laurel Ledge made enough growth to earn recognition, Raynor said closing the gap between high needs and regular students and making sure all students are growing academically remains an area where school officials are concentrating their efforts.

“This is an area we need to continue to focus on at all of our schools,” Raynor said.