Monday, September 23, 2019

JPS Improves, No Longer Failing

JPS finally got some good news as its rating improved from F to D.  MDE released the annual school ratings last week. JPS faced a state takeover two years ago after repeatedly earned an F rating.  The number of A-rated schools rose while the number of failing schools substantially fell.  However, most of the positive news was in elementary schools while most high schools still failed. 

Compare the snapshots of JPS in 2019 and 2017.

Snapshot (Ratings for 2018-2019)
High Schools: 2 D's, 5 F's.
Middle Schools: 2 A's, 1 C, 4 D's, 5 F's
Elementary Schools: 7 A's, 7 B's, 5 C's, 5 D's, 9 F's

Total number of schools: 51
Total number of A's: 9
Total number of B's: 7
Total number of C's: 6
Total number of D's: 11
Total number of F's: 19
% of JPS schools receiving F: 35%
% of JPS schools receiving D: 21%
% of JPS schools receiving D & F: 56%
% of JPS schools receiving A: 18%
% of JPS schools receiving B: 14%

2017 Snapshot (Ratings for 2016-2017): 

High Schools: 2 C's, 3 D's, 4 F's
Middle Schools: 2 A's, 11 F's (A's are magnet/select schools)
Elementary Schools: 1 A, 8 B's, 2 C's, 9 D's, 16 F's (A is magnet school)

 Total number of schools: 58
Total number of A's: 4 (All special schools)
Total number of B's: 8
Total number of C's: 4
Total number of D's: 12
Total number of F's: 31
% of JPS schools receiving F: 53%
% of JPS schools receiving D: 21%
% of JPS schools receiving D & F: 74%
% of JPS schools receiving A: 5%
% of JPS schools receiving B: 14%
% of JPS schools receiving C: 7%

The high schools stayed true to their usual dismal selves as two schools earned D's while the rest failed. The high school ratings are actually worse than they were two years ago as some actually achieved C ratings.  The middle schools slightly improved.  All of the regular middle schools received F's in 2017.  Kirksey improved to a C while four middle schools improved to a D.

JJ is not counting the "special schools" with the rest of the schools.  Bailey, Northwest Middle, Casey, and Obama schools are magnet or select schools.  The top students go to these schools.  These schools earned A's.

The true bright spot is in the elementary schools.  The elementary schools usually perform at a higher level than the rest of JPS.  However, sixteen of the elementary schools received F's while nine received D's when JPS faced the takeover. 

The elementary schools showed tremendous improvement.  Obama was the only one to receive an A two years ago.  Nine elementary schools earned A's last year. The number of F and D schools fell from 25 to 14.  This is the real story in the improvement of JPS.  What took place in the last three years that might suggest a reason for the improvement?

The legislature passed the third-grade "reading-gate" requirement several years ago.  JPS schools performed abysmally as several had failure rates of nearly 50%.  However, the scores steadily improved.  JJ reported in 2015:

23 out of 36 JPS elementary schools saw 25% or more of their students flunk the test. What is even more troubling is that the three schools who enjoyed failure rates of less than 5% (and two had failure rates of 0)  were either magnet or Montessori schools.  George Elementary, the crown jewel of the regular public schools as it has an "A" rating, suffered a failure rate of 21%. Several schools are rated "C" yet approximately a third of their students failed the exam.  28% of all third grade students in Jackson Public Schools failed the reading test.
The reading-gate tests show why there were 25 F and D elementary schools as too many of the kids imply could not read but were passed on to higher grades.  The new law forced JPS to get cracking.  JJ reported a year later:

 it appears some teachers, coaches, and students buckled down for the 2016 tests.  The worst failing rate was 38%.  Only 9 out of 36 schools suffered failing rates of more than 25%.  24 schools improved upon their 2015 scores.  6 schools saw their scores rise but they were less than 5% and several were less than 1%- a fractional difference.  The improved reading abilities of JPS students will hopefully transfer into higher ratings for Jackson schools.
 The little tykes read even better in 2017 as only one school (French) saw 30% fail.  There were only two other schools where over 20% of the students failed the test and those were at 22% and 23%.  Nine schools enjoyed seeing less than 5% of their students fail.  Clearly, more students are reading.

The elementary schools now have several cohorts of kids now reading at a higher level than those of several years ago.  The first two batches of improved scores are now in the middle schools.  Such progress probably explains the improved ratings for the middle schools.


High Schools
Murrah: D (529)
Callaway: D (492)
Provine: F (466)
Lanier: F (462)
Wingfield: F (419)
Jim Hill: F (378)
Forest Hill: F


Middle Schools
Bailey Middle APAC: A (544)
Northwest Middle: A (459)
Kirksey: C (331)
Siwell: D (317)
Blackburn: D (288)
Chastain: D (282)
Hardy: D (275)
Peeples: F (246)
Whitten: F (238)
Brinkley: F (226)
Powell: F (210)
Cardozo: F (206)

Elementary Schools
Power APAC: A (566)
Key: A (556)
Obama: A (549)
Baker: A (523)
Lester: A (512)
Casey: A (475)
Pecan Park: A (452)
Lake: B (427)
Barr: B (421)
Marshall: B (417)
Dawson: B (403)
Lee: B (399)
McLeod: B (398)
Spann: B (379)
Sykes: C (358)
Bates: C (357)
Clausell: C (335)
North Jackson: C (331)
Walton: C (328)
Smith: D (322)
Timberlawn: D (318)
Watkins: D (303)
McWillie: D (302)
Raines: D (276)
Galloway: F (266)
Boyd: F (264)
John Hopkins: F (259)
Johnson: F (255)
Van Winkle: F (243)
Green: F (240)
Wilkins: F (232)
Isable: F (231)
Oak Forest: F (197)


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You want everyone to do better, but it's a more promising sign that the elementary schools show significant progress rather than high schools.
Elementary kids represent the future and have got many years to develop good work habits and become solid students, the high schoolers don't. Once kids get to middle school they are much harder to reach or reform. I would have been suspicious if failing high schools reform faster than elementary schools. JPS should build on this trend. Don't let the elementary kids backslide. In five years they should aim to be a B district.

Anonymous said...

JPS.......Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Cynical Sam said...

Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.

Paul Mitchell said...

Forest Hill isn't JPSD?

Anonymous said...

This is good news and JPS should be commended.

Anonymous said...

There is no way that JPS needs to operate 50+ schools in a district whose size continues to decline. Talk about cost savings, especially at the elementary school level, if they could reduce the number of schools by a third.

Anonymous said...

How is this possible. I thought the fledgling Charter Schools cherry picking from the elementary schools was only going to hasten the demise of JPS? How can they improve losing their best and their brightest while having their funding stolen from JPS and given to the greedy for profit Charters?

Could it be the SPLC was full of it, and that their lawsuit was drafted by the child of a public education lobbyist pulling six figures? Wonder if twitter star has retweeted this yet?

Anonymous said...

Forest hill was a part of the county schools a long time ago. It has been a jps school for a while now. You must not be a real Jacksonian or even hinds county resident to know that?

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