Contributed By Dr. Halvorson
The Department of Education just released the new A-F grades for Arizona schools. TCP again received an “A”. What does that mean?
The Department of Education grades high schools in five areas, test proficiency, graduation rate, student growth, college and career readiness, and English Language Learners progress. To receive a high grade in test proficiency the students must test proficient or highly proficient on the AZMerit Math and Language Arts tests and AIMS Science test. Many TCP students scored highly on these tests. For graduation rate, the Department of Education looks how many of the school’s students complete high school in four years. TCP has always had high graduation rates.
Student growth is more complicated. The Department of Education looks at three groups of students and how much growth each group demonstrates in one year. The first group is the group that scored poorly on the state tests the previous year. Those students need to make at least a year’s progress in one year. The next group are the students who scored proficient on the tests. The third group is those students who scored highly proficient. It is often difficult to get a large number of proficient students to become highly proficient and for students who are already highly proficient to become even more highly proficient. The state looks at growth to be sure the school is working with their at-risk students and that all students reach their potentials. Scoring well in this area shows that TCP’s belief and Motto, “Keeping Standards High and Helping Students Reach Them” is more than words. The staff at TCP works collaboratively to help meet each student’s needs.
For college and career readiness, the state has a list of academic opportunities in which a school should be including students. The opportunities include those that prepare a student for college as well as prepare a student to enter a career after graduation. TCP received the top score in this area. That is because TCP believes in educating the whole child and preparing every student to become a productive member of society.
The last area the state considers is how well students who have English as their second language are doing at the school. This category is often dependent upon how many English Language Learners are living in and/or attending a school.
To receive an “A” the school must do well in all areas. TCP’s “A” means TCP works with all students and offers each one of them the opportunities they need to become all that they are meant to be.