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From Principal Heintzman

October 2014

 

Dear Brown Community,

I appreciate this opportunity to share with you Brown International Academy’s State of the School that summarizes our current data and provides you an overview of our areas of focus at Brown for the 2014-15 school year. We have recently updated our school’s Unified Improvement Plan and our Professional Development plan in collaboration with our teaching staff, the members of our Collaborative School Committee (CSC) and our School Leadership Team (SLT). We continue to be committed to our school mission: to empower learners to grow and evolve into compassionate, confident, contributing citizens of the world. Learners will be open-minded to multiple perspectives, advocate for peace and promote change within our global community. Brown is also committed to the Shared Values of the Denver Public Schools community: Students First, Integrity, Collaboration, Equity, Accountability and Fun!

Measuring Brown’s Student Performance

The two primary measures for accountability and measuring of school success are TCAP testing, (the state accountability system) and the School Performance Framework (SPF), (the district accountability system). The 2013-14 results of these accountability systems are described below.

Transitional Colorado Achievement Program (TCAP)

As a result of the analysis of student achievement status and growth, as measured by the 2014 Transitional Colorado Achievement Program (TCAP), the teachers at Brown identified school-wide strengths. We are proud to report that:

  • 77% of 3rd through 5th grade students are proficient or advanced in Reading, with 9% scoring advanced.
  • 74% of 3rd through 5th grade students are proficient or advanced in Math, with 34% scoring advanced.
  • 62% of 3rd through 5th grade students are proficient or advanced in Writing, with 17% scoring advanced.

Though we have things to celebrate, we also know that we have work to do. We are focused an decreasing the number of students scoring Unsatisfactory (11% in Reading, 8% in Math and 7% in Writing) and increasing the number of students scoring Proficient in Writing (31% partially proficient and 7% unsatisfactory).

School Performance Frameworks (SPF)

Although the state accountability system has been the primary measure of school performance in Colorado, this measure alone does not provide a full picture of a school’s performance, as it only captures student performance at a given point in time. The Denver Public School’s School Performance Framework (SPF) takes into account a broad range of measures and considers each school’s data over two years. The SPF is a comprehensive annual review of school performance, which is presented in the form of a scorecard that measures multiple performance criteria including: growth, status, student engagement and satisfaction, enrollment and parent engagement & satisfaction. Based on the school’s total number of points achieved across all of the indicators, the school is assigned an overall SPF rating of: Distinguished, Meets Expectations, Accredited on Watch, Accredited on Priority Watch or Accredited on Probation.

The 2013-14 SPF for Brown rated us as Meets Expectations. This rating is a combined score of the following criteria:

  • Student Progress Over Time – Growth: Meets
  • Student Achievement – Status: Meets
  • Student Engagement & Satisfaction: Meets
  • Center-Based Program Offerings: 2 Bonus Points
  • Enrollment: Approaching
  • Parent Engagement & Satisfaction: Meets

It is important to note the following celebrations of ratings:

  • Exceeds for 2013-14 Median Growth Percentile for Reading;
  • Meets for 2013-14 Median Growth Percentile for Math and Writing;
  • Exceeds for 2013-14 in Median Growth Percentile compared to Similar Schools in Reading and Writing;
  • Meets for 2013-14 TCAP Growth ELL (English Language Learners), FRL (Free and reduced lunch) and Minority all improved from Approaching in 2012-13;
  • Exceeds for 2013-14 ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to State) Median Growth Percentile;
  • Meets in TCAP % Advanced;
  • Meets in Attendance Rate at 94.27% (Exceeds is >95%)
  • Meets in Student Satisfaction (student survey) increasing from 87.2 to 89.6% (Exceeds is >90);
  • Meets in Parent Satisfaction Survey Response Rate increasing from 67.9% to 73.4%;

It is also important to note celebrations beyond the School Performance Framework (SPF):

  • 82.5% of our students perform at or above grade level on DRA reading tests;
  • 85% of our students perform at or above grade level on the STAR Early Literacy assessment;
  • Our total number of suspensions has greatly reduced over time.

Though we have a lot to celebrate, we will work to improve the following:

  • Brown is rated Does Not Meet for Students with Disabilities TCAP Growth Comparison (relative to the state);
  • Brown is rated Meets in Parent Satisfaction but positive responses decreased from 87.3% in 2012-13 to 85.2% in 2013-14;
  • Brown is rated Approaching for Enrollment Rate.

Brown’s Perspective on Accountability

The staff and Collaborative School Committee (CSC) at Brown understand the importance of measures like TCAP and the SPF in ensuring quality schools and in supporting schools in making data-driven decisions. However, this data is a small piece of the information we need to evaluate our success as a school. In addition to the achievement data provided by the state and the district, student growth data is collected on an on-going basis throughout the school year via assessments like the district’s benchmark tests, the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment), STAR reading, STAR Early Literacy, Accelerated Reader, STAR math, Everyday Math assessments, IB Unit of Inquiry assessments and other formative and summative teacher assessments. These assessments provide accurate and helpful data, which informs our instruction throughout the school year.

2014-15 Unified Improvement Plan Goals

As a result of the data analysis, teachers identified three areas of focus for last year and this year which include:

Goal 1- Continue our Data Team process where teachers collect and chart data, analyze the data and prioritize needs, set SMART goals, select instructional strategies and determine results in a collaborative process. We will continue to hold ourselves accountable through documentation of each meeting and sharing instructional strategies schoolwide.

Goal 2- Improve Reading and Writing instruction through targeted and engaging strategies, formative and summative assessments and continual professional development. We will teach reading to all learners at all levels of proficiency and teach writing using effective writing strategies and tools both aligned with the Common Core Standards.

Goal 3- Improve Math instruction with differentiation and professional development of teachers in teaching mathematics to all learners at varying levels of proficiency, increasing levels of Cognitive Demand for our students and following the Common Core Standards.

If you have any questions regarding the information presented, please feel free to contact me or schedule a conversation. I am so proud to be the principal at Brown.

 

Sincerely,

 

Lynn Heintzman

 

 

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