Grades issued for Indiana school corporations: Indianapolis gets 'F'

INDIANAPOLIS - The state department of education released 2013 accountability grades for Indiana school corporations Wednesday after a vote by the state board. Indianapolis schools didn't fare well as far as letter grades go, but improved on the 4-point scale assessing school systems.

Officials said the final corporation grades were determined after individual schools were assessed during the December State Board of Education meeting. Four districts received failing grades.

Find Indiana school districts and their respective grades for 2013 and 2012 here.  The school corporations are organized alphabetically by county.

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) received an F, which it also got in 2012. Indianapolis increased in points, however, with 0.24 points in 2012 versus 0.96 points in 2013. The highest point-score possible is a 4.0, similar to real school grades for students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said individual schools within IPS are improving, too.

Meanwhile, Warren Township Schools Academics Chief Lee Ann Kwiatowski said her district's C grade was a slight bump from the year before.

"We felt improvement at school-level, but we know there are some areas across the district we need to focus on to make sure students improve on ISTEP," Kwiatowski said.

She added that a cut in funding for buses forced the district to drop all after-school programs this year, both academic and athletic - which made offering extra help to students a challenge.

"All of our principals are constantly looking at data (and) statistics to measure where they are," Kwiatowski said. "We want every one of our schools... to be an A school."

Ninety-four districts across the state received an A grade and more than a third of those earned a perfect score of 4.0. 

That includes Zionsville, where the superintendent credits dedicated teachers and concerned parents for the high marks. 

The formula for measuring and reporting schools' performances is going to change, starting in the fall. The State Board of Education is creating new standards, which will include more information about individual student performance.

"We'll form instruction, right down to the classroom," Ritz said. "We're excited about that."

IPS said it employs a continuous improvement model along with beginning-, middle- and end-of-the-year assessments. The assessments are administered along with day-to-day common assessments conducted by teachers. 

IPS issued several statements Wednesday via Twitter:

• "While we understand the state's need to (appraise) the public school performance, IPS will prioritize efforts that impact student growth"

• "According to the state accountability model, IPS is graded just points from a D"

• "Certainly, we strive toward an A grade; and it is good that we are seeing evidence of improved student achievement"

• "3 Academic Focus areas are being implemented for the remainder of the year to ensure improved student achievement: Data-Driven Decision Making, Teacher Evaluation, Mastery Learning"

• "Sure, making the grade is important... (but) achieving student success is PARAMOUNT."

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