Ansonia School scores rise in state Accountability increase
ANSONIA - The city’s four school all registered increased scores on the 2017-18 Accountability index released by the state Department of Education.
“We are pleased that the district as a whole increased from 65.7% in 2015-16 to 67.6% in 2017-18,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Joseph DiBacco. He added that a deeper analysis of the index scores revealed improvement at all four schools.
Ansonia High received the highest score among the city’s four schools notching 70%, a 2.3% increase from two years ago. Ansonia Middle School scored 56.1 percent reprsenting a four percent increase; Mead scored 62.7 percent or a three percent increase and Prendergast scored 69.5 percent or ten percent increase, said DiBacco, who will become the city’s Superintendent of Schools on July 1.
“This shows that everyone is doing their job,” said William Nimons, chairman of the Board of Education. “Everyone is working hard to make sure our kids are prepared for their future.”
The state created a new Accountability Index for the 2015-16 year, with 20 indicators most of which include a score for all students and another for high needs students. The latter groups identifies high needs students as those living in poverty, challenged by disabilities or learning English as a second language.
So there are separate performance indicators for English Language Arts, Math and Science for all students and another for high needs students. For academic growth there are separate English Language Arts and Math indicators for all students and for high needs students. The same is true for chronic absenteeism.
Other indicators includeon track to graduation, four-year graduation, six-year graduation (which measures high needs students) as well as physical fitness and arts access.
John LaRovera, Ansonia’s math and science administrator, said the scores showed improved in math for performance and academic growth in both all students and high needs students. He said academic growth shows a 12.5 per cent gain.
“I attribute this significant improvement to three factors— the creation of a fluency program in our elementary grades, which focuses on mastering the four basic facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; the implementation of instructional assessment blocks which are practice state assessments given throughout the year; and a definitive approach on ensuring that all pacing demands were met.”
He said “being able to meet with teachers periodically helped to create immediate buy-in to these initiatives”: and ensured “ teachers were given a plan to cover all priority grade-level content standards prior to testing.”
In the area of math, Ansonia students scored 59.3 percent in 2017-18 compared to 48.2 percent last year. For the high needs students in math, Ansonia students scored 58.5 percent compared to 45.4 percent last year.
Bridget Calabrese, the district’s literacy administrator, said she begam tp see incremental gains since the adoption of Readers Workshop several years ago.
She also believes providing more rigorous curriculum containing student-centered instructional strategies helped.
“These increases validate that we are moving in the right direction to improve student performance and close the achievement gap,” Calabrese said.
Citing the performance index for English Language Arts, Calabrese said Ansonia students scored 59.6% in 2017-18 compared to 57.9% in 2016-17. The high needs students scored 56.7% in 2017-18 compared to 55% two years ago.
The most significant improvement was in the Physical fitness results. In the 2016-17 year, 43.5% of students met the standards, while 58.4% met the standards in the 2017-18 year.
“This is not done in isolation,” DiBacco said. “We have hard working students, teachers, administrators and families that are reinforcing what we are doing, and we appreciate it. Hard work does pay off; the scores speak for themselves. We look forward to continued improvement.”