Most Douglas County school districts fared well in annual report cards released today by the Oregon Department of Education.
Every public school was rated as either outstanding, satisfactory or in need of improvement based on a host of measurements, including test scores and academic growth, during the 2011-12 school year.
In Roseburg, Hucrest Elementary and the John C. Fremont and Joseph Lane middle schools were rated as outstanding.
Other Douglas County schools rated outstanding were Winston-Dillard School District’s Brockway and Lookingglass elementary schools; Yoncalla, South Umpqua, Oakland and Glide high schools; and Oakland and North Douglas elementary schools.
County schools ranked as needing improvement were Phoenix Charter School in Roseburg, Douglas High School in Winston and Glendale High School.
The rest of the county’s schools were deemed satisfactory.
Roseburg School District Superintendent Larry Parsons said the district doesn’t put too much weight on the report cards.
“This is one of the measures we use to make sure we’re on the right track, but it’s not the only measure,” he said.
Nevertheless, Parsons said it was great three of the district’s schools were ranked outstanding.
“I’m particularly pleased with the work our middle schools are doing,” he said. “Our middle schools are doing great work and that shows.”
Phoenix Charter School Executive Director Ron Breyne said in an email the school slipped from a satisfactory rating last year to needs improvement because the rating system doesn’t differentiate between students who are new to the school and ones who have been there longer before they take standardized tests.
Unlike other schools, half of Phoenix’s juniors and seniors are new to the school, and most are behind in credits and skills when they arrive, he said.
“The academic achievement of our freshmen who enroll with us compares well to other schools,” he said. “Many of our latecomers do go on to graduate.”
Oakland School District Superintendent Nanette Hagen said the report card put a smile on her face this morning.
“We’re continuing to do great stuff,” she said. “The targets keep moving, so for us to be able to respond to get the kids where they need to be is exciting. ... It think it shows the strength of our small communities and our small schools.”
Hagen said she was especially thrilled that Oakland High has been ranked outstanding for two years in a row.
“Kudos to the high school staff because it’s very difficult to get a high school to an outstanding rating,” she said.
South Umpqua School District Superintendent Steve Kelley said South Umpqua High School earned its outstanding rating. The school was judged in need of improvement last year.
“The high school really has made some significant changes,” he said. “I’m not surprised that reflected in the test scores.”
Among the changes were putting a greater emphasis on going to college, which raises the stakes for students, and measures to help students who are struggling academically, Kelley said.
“Essentially the (high school) staff has raised the expectations and the students have risen to the challenge. We don’t let kids fail,” he said. “When you don’t let kids wiggle off the hook, they get the message.”
Glide School District Superintendent Steve Dickensen said Glide High School has a low dropout rate and generally performs better academically than the state average. He said he was pleased the school was ranked outstanding.
“This is a team effort in this district,” he said. “We have to recognize the efforts of the elementary and middle school staff. The elementary and middle school helped contribute to that rating.”
Among all Oregon schools, 59 percent were rated satisfactory, 31 percent were rated outstanding and 10 percent were in need of improvement. Some schools were not rated because they were too small or had been open for fewer than two years.
This is the last year Oregon will use its current version of school report cards. The state plans to redesign report cards in hopes of providing better information to parents and communities.
• You can reach reporter Inka Bajandas at 541-957-4202 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org