Good News from STAR Test Results -
Message from Jeanne Donovan, Principal Piedmont Middle School
We have great news to report regarding the STAR results for the 2011-12 school year at Piedmont Middle School: PMS’s Academic Performance Index score (API) from last spring’s STAR testing increased from a score of 943 to 966, a 23-point gain. The API is a single number that ranges from 200 to 1000, and reflects a school’s performance level based on the results of statewide testing. Its purpose is to measure the academic performance and growth of schools. PMS also met all Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) criteria including participation rate, percent proficient, and API score.
I attribute our success in the STAR results to many factors. Our teachers have embraced a more collaborative teacher evaluation system, and are taking advantage of common planning time to share strategies and learn from each other’s successes. Throughout the school there is an increased focus on collaboration within and between departments, in order to improve student learning. Teachers are also using our data management program, Data Director, to look closely at the specific data within content clusters of the STAR test. Looking closely at these data helps teachers develop, refine, and restructure their teaching in order to address specific areas of need.
The extremely generous contributions of parents are also a huge factor in our success. Given the uncertainties of funding from the State, it is the parent contributions that allow us to continue to improve our excellent program. Donations to the Giving Campaign, the School Support Tax, the Piedmont Education Foundation, and ongoing parent support of state funding initiatives are all vital to the strength of our program. Adding to this are the countless hours and amazing dedication of our parent volunteers. It is this partnership between parents, school and administration that leads to success.
Please keep in mind that STAR is only one indicator of either our school’s or any individual student’s annual academic progress. Teachers also look at other forms of assessment, such as common assessments, formative assessments, and benchmark assessments. As seriously as we take grades and test scores, it is of equal importance to our staff to stay focused on the healthy emotional, physical, and social development of our students.
Editors’ Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.