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District report card is mostly positive


However, it also shows that there is room for improvement

Based on its latest report card from the state, the Crook County School District is not perfect, but is trending in the right direction.

The district recently received its new and improved report card from the Oregon Department of Education, which now focuses on year-to-year improvement and judges schools against those with similar socioeconomic factors.

“It kind of sounds like you are splitting hairs, but achievement would be just a straight percentage of people who met or exceeded state benchmark testing,” said curriculum director Stacy Smith. “But growth indicates that based on the child’s previous year scores, how much did they improve over the course of the next year.”

On the revised report cards, several schools showed noteworthy improvements. Smith praised the achievement of Crook County High School (CCHS). In reading, 93 percent of the students met or exceeded state standards, while 77.7 percent did so in science, 69.9 percent in math, and 67.1 percent in writing.

Smith added that Crook County Middle School (CCMS) has shown tremendous growth, as did Pioneer Alternative High School, which showed 20-to-30 percent increases in students meeting standards from the previous year.

“Our teachers and instructional environment of classrooms is good," he said, "and we are moving kids (improving performance year-to-year), which I think is the work of schools.”

The report card rates each school in the district based on their performance versus similar districts. CCHS, CCMS, and Cecil Sly Elementary were rated “above average.” Crooked River Elementary earned an “about average” rating, while Ochoco Elementary School was rated “below average.”

Smith noted that Ochoco has the highest percentage of underserved student subgroups in the district. According to the report card, 71 percent of the school’s students are considered economically disadvantaged, compared to 62 percent for Cecil Sly and Crooked River. In addition, because Ochoco provides the dual-language program, 23 percent of its students are learning English as a second language as opposed to 9 percent at Crooked River and 7 percent at Cecil Sly.

“We are trending in the right direction where we would like to provide extra resources in these areas that need them,” Smith said. “At Ochoco, we're really working hard to support the ELL (English Language Learner) population.”

While Smith saw several reasons for optimism in the report card, he found areas where the school district needs to improve.

“We are below the state average in how much children who have special needs are moving (improving test scores),” he said. “As a district, our writing scores aren’t where they need to be.” In writing, just 41.2 percent of students tested (11th grade only) met the state standard.

Smith said the district is looking for solutions, and has even contacted the state to see if there is any additional support they can provide.

“We are looking at it very hard,” he said. “We own this problem and we are working on fixing it.”