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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Enterprise Elementary Elgin High School earn ‘outstanding’ rating

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Enterprise Elementary Elgin High School earn ‘outstanding’ rating

Pizza and milkshake parties are not the key to getting students to scale benchmarks on state assessment tests.

Still, they never hurt.

Just ask the staff at Elgin High School. The school received an overall rating of “outstanding’’ for 2010-11 from the Oregon Department of Education via its school report card program. The “outstanding’’ rating is the highest the ODE awards.

Elgin High School and Enterprise Elementary School are only two schools in Union and Wallowa counties to receive such “outstanding” overall ratings in a report released by the ODE on Thursday.

School ratings are issued based upon state assessment test scores, dropout rates, teacher experience, school improvement and more.

Elgin High School and Enterprise Elementary both received “outstanding” ratings based in part on strong assessment test scores.                          

“We are excited,’’ said Elgin High School Principal Wayne Herron. “We have a good, strong staff and a good group of students. It is nice for them to be recognized.’’

He credits the high rating to very hard work by his school’s staff and students and a focus on assessment tests.

“We take state testing seriously,’’ Herron said.

A number of steps have been taken to motivate students to do well on the tests. One is the establishment of a bulletin-type board outside the school library. The board shows how students are doing in meeting state benchmarks on assessment tests. No names are listed, just the overall performances of the school in specific academic areas.

Herron credits Elgin High School Librarian Cindy Chandler with doing an excellent job of setting up and maintaining the bulletin board. When the board indicates the school has met or exceeded a state benchmark, it may be time to celebrate. Teachers of the subject the standard was met in sometimes reward their students by putting on pizza or milkshake parties for entire classes.

“It is important to recognize our students,’’ Herron said.

The rating Enterprise Elementary School earned was its third straight. All have been earned under the watch of Brad Royse, superintendent of the Enterprise School District and principal of its elementary school.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,’’ Royse said this morning of the rating.

Royse said he was worried that the higher state benchmarks for math would make it harder for Enterprise Elementary to achieve the “outstanding” rating again.

“I’m very proud of our students and staff,’’ Royse said.

He said the teachers in his district focus on the state standards but do not teach to test. In making this point he noted that the state earlier dropped its writing assessment test. The Enterprise District, however, decided to increase its focus on writing despite the change by the state.

Royse said his teachers do a good job of making sure students understand the importance of doing well on assessment tests.

“It is a fine line. You do not want the students to get stressed out, but you need to make them realize the importance of the tests.’’

“Outstanding” is one of three ratings the Oregon Department of Education issues on its report cards. The others are “satisfactory” and “needs improvement.”

All other public schools in Union and Wallowa counties achieved satisfactory ratings or were not rated because they were too small to qualify for a grade.

All of the La Grande District’s six schools achieved satisfactory ratings, including Willow Elementary, a kindergarten-only school. Willow received a satisfactory rating based on its attendance. Assessment test scores were not part of the rating since kindergarten students are not tested by the state.

Statewide, 64 percent of Oregon’s schools received satisfactory ratings, and 28 percent were rated as “outstanding.” The number of schools earning the “outstanding” rank was down from 37 percent in 2009-10.

The reason for the decline can be traced to the increase in the state’s benchmark for math scores, Glaze said. He said he believes that the number of schools in which students meeting the new math benchmarks will soon increase because teachers will be focusing more on the new “content standards.’’

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