Only eight schools in the entire State of Indiana turned an “F” into an “A” on the 2012 version of the state report card that measures school performance.
One of those schools is in South Bend.
“So, did Dickinson go from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’? They sure did,” said South Bend School Superintendent Dr. Carole Schmidt. “And it was hard work on their part and you know we’ve been asked time and time again, what’s the formula, what’s the formula, there isn’t a formula.”
But the same eight step approach toward learning that is in place at Dickinson Fine Arts Academy is also in place throughout the rest of the South Bend district, where overall, the number of failing schools nearly doubled this year from four to sevent (Jackson, Harrison, Madison, Monroe, Muessel, Perley, Warren).
“Our principals, and our teachers know what they have to do, they’ve looked at the scores, they’re not happy either,” said Dr. Schmidt. “I think we have to be careful to say we can take one strategy and implement it across the board with some level of integrity, because every school has its own personality.”
Dickinson had received a failing grade from the state during each of the previous four years, but it is now, “acknowledged as the most improved middle school in the State of Indiana, Dr. Bennett has repeatedly used Dickison as an example of how turnaround can be done,” said Dr. Schmidt.
Meantime, it’ll be impossible to improve the grades of schools across the Penn Harris Madison district. All of PHM’s 15 schools received A’s.
“Having straight A's never gets old,” said Dr. Jerry Thacker, PHM School Superintendent. “There’s no question that there’s more to grading a school than simply one test, however this is a common measure that's used in the State of Indiana so it’s an excellent benchmark for us.”
In 2012, Bittersweet school received an A, which marked a vast improvement from the D it received last year. “We talk about a triangle of success that connects our students teachers and parents, a strong partnership and ensure that we're focused on excellence. Our vision is excellence and so we keep focused on that throughout the school year,” said Dr. Thacker.
The Warsaw Community Schools also received straight A’s on the 2012 report card: all 11 schools.
In 2011, only three Warsaw schools received A’s.
Statewide, 61 percent of all schools received an A or B, while 18.6 percent had a D or F.
Of the 16 Catholic schools in St. Joseph County, 11 received A’s, 3 received C’s and one received a D.
Covenant Christian School and Hebrew Day School both received A’s.