Five schools receive top rankings; Athey Creek falls

Five West Linn-Wilsonville schools received top ratings from the state in the new school report cards released by the state Oct. 10.

West Linn High School and four primary schools, Bolton, Boones Ferry, Stafford and Sunset, received overall state Level 5 based on their performance during the 2012-13 school year. They were rated on up to five factors including standardized test scores in reading and math, student achievement, student growth, the growth of subgroups of student population and, at the high school, graduation rates. The district’s only charter school, Three Rivers, also received a 5.

Six other schools, Wilsonville High School, Inza R. Wood and Rosemont Ridge middle schools and Boeckman Creek, Cedaroak Park and Willamette primary schools, received a rating of Level 4, putting them at or above the state average. The district’s remaining primary schools, Lowrie and Trillium Creek, were not rated, because 2012-13 was their first year of operations.

by: FILE PHOTO - Athey Creek received the school district's only Level 3 rating for the 2012-13 school year.Athey Creek Middle School received the district’s only Level 3 rating. While the school met overall academic achievement standards with all students, some subgroups missed growth targets for reading and math. Although Athey Creek is the district’s program school for student services in 2012-13 - it served as a hub for students outside the general education program - students with special needs were not tested in the same way or included in data that contributed to Athey’s relatively low ranking, said Deputy Superintendent Jane Stickney.

Stickney“We are paying attention to these things,” she said. “We’re sure you’re going to see different numbers in the future.”

The school report card is entirely different this year. Previously, school reports cards focused primarily on standardized test results. The new reports cards were designed by a committee as part of the state’s waiver from federal education requirements. They are intended to align with the Achievement Compact, a statewide agreement that sets education goals for student progress from kindergarten through community colleges and the university system.

The achievement compact focuses on student learning and growth and so do the new school report cards.

For high schools, measurements include academic achievement, academic growth, subgroup growth, graduation rates and subgroup graduation. Elementary and middle school rankings are based on the first three measurements. Schools receive an overall rating of 1 through 5 based on how well they do in each of those areas. Level 1 schools represent the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state. Level 2 schools represent the next lowest 10 percent. Level 3 makes up approximately the next 30 percent of schools. Level 4 represents the largest share of schools, those that fall between 44 percent and 90 percent of schools. The top 5 percent of school in the state receive a rating of 5.

The district’s alternative school, Arts and Technology High School, received a Level 1 designation. With only 98 students enrolled in 2012-13, the school includes disproportionate percentages of economically disadvantaged (42 percent) and disabled (35 percent) students in comparison to the rest of the schools in the district. The school received its low ranking after missing testing targets in reading and math, and also failing to test all students.

Stickney also made a distinction between types of assessment done by the school district.

The Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test provides the data for the school report cards. Stickney called OAKS a high stakes, large-scale assessment. OAKS will be phased out this year as the district moves toward a new assessment, called Smarter Balanced, as the state adopts Common Core educational standards.

Administrators are considering giving students another formal assessment, from Northwest Evaluation Association, and other informal assessments in addition to the Smarter Balanced assessment.

“We’re taking steps to put low stakes, high leverage assessment tools in the hands of teachers, that teachers can actually use to guide learning,” she said. “We want teachers to have those kinds of tools and be able to use them.”

Looking at the results, Stickney noted that every school in the district had been affected by the opening of the two new primary schools, with students and staff shifting to new places and school communities adapting to increased enrollment overall. The district already has made one change this school year that could improve school ratings.

“We have been able to put in place over 25 new (teacher) positions this year. That’s huge,” Stickney said.

She acknowledged that the district had room to improve its ratings.

“There’s always opportunity, whether from this source or others,” she said. “As standards have risen each year and the OAKS tool has shifted over time, we’re looking for and using tools to help us know well before OAKS how kids are doing, so we can adjust.

“From a parent’s point of view, look at how hard your student is working, including their daily work, quizzes and assessments and their mindset. ... Those are the kinds of things that pay off for students. The end game is to graduate ready for college. We know we get them there.”

School and district report carts are available online at

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