PHS graduation rates up

ISBE finds that attendence, graduation rates have increased at PHS for 2018-2019

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Paris Union School District 95 and Crestwood Unit 4 students once again excelled in the Illinois School Board Association’s school report cards but perhaps the most impressive statistics unveiled by the ISBE weren’t test scores but the attendance and graduation rate increases at Paris High School.

According to the PHS report card breakdown presented by PHS interim co-principals Carol Jones and Lorraine Bailey, the high school’s graduation rate for the 2018-2019 school year was 91 percent, while the attendance rate hit 94 percent.

The state average for graduation, according to the ISBE, was 86 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

Jones explained in 2010, the school’s graduation rate was at 86 percent — and below the state average.

“This is one of the goals we’ve been working toward,” Jones said.

The new PALS (Paris Alternative Learning Site), APEX and Bridges programs have helped improve the graduation rate for PHS, assistant principal Mark Cox said. “It’s made a tremendous difference.”

Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson agreed, noting the increase in the high school’s graduation rate, “should be in big headlines. It’s that important.”

Jones also emphasized a number of academic and school success indicators the school has improved including:

-Freshmen on track at 85 percent, just below the state average of 87 percent.

-Student attendance at 94 percent, equal to the state average.

-Students taking early college courses total 119 with 69 juniors and 50 seniors.

The Freshmen on Track increase was due to the strong study tables program under the direction of Cox, Jones said. Freshmen are tracked weekly and those who fall behind in classwork, homework, or tests are tutored after school twice a week. If a student is identified, the parents are contacted and arrangements made the students to get the needed help.

Bailey is particularly proud of the number of students who take early college courses.

“I think this is something to brag about,” she said.

-Jones said schoolwide goals for PHS include:

-Increase student attendance to 94.5 percent.

-Increase Freshmen on Track to 90 percent.

-Continue increasing the graduation rate.

Crestwood Elementary School, Crestwood Junior High School, Mayo Middle School, Carolyn Wenz School and Paris High School all earned the designation of commendable from the ISBE.

According to the ISBE, a commendable school is a school that has no underperforming student groups, a graduation rate greater than 67 percent and whose performance is not in the top 10 percent of schools statewide.

According to data provided by Larson at the Tuesday, Nov. 12, school board meeting, both Mayo Middle School and Carolyn Wenz Elementary School are in the top 10 schools in the Regional Office of Education #11 based on test scores.

Mayo’s ELA (EnglishLanguage) proficiency — which includes writing — was a region high 64.9 percent. The school’s math proficiency was 27.9 percent while science was 66.3 percent for an average of 53 percent.

Carolyn Wenz School improved its scores and finished ninth in the region with the an ELA proficiency of 35.7 percent, math proficiency of 29.5 percent and a science proficiency of 55.3 percent for an average of 40.2 percent.

Larson said the district’s schools are now transitioning to the Saxon math series. Saxon math, developed by John Saxon, is a teaching method for incremental learning of mathematics. It involves teaching a new mathematical concept every day and constantly reviewing old concepts, according to information by Larson.

Crestwood Junior High School is third in the ROE 11 based on proficiency scores. According to Superintendent of Schools Danette Young — who reported about the district’s test scores at the November meeting Wednesday, Nov. 13, — the junior high finished with a 49.7 percent proficiency in ELA, 33.8 percent in math and 64.7 percent in science for an overall proficiency of 49.4 percent.

Crestwood Elementary School — includes pre-kindergarten through fifth grade — was also in the top 10 schools, finishing ELA proficiency at 49.3 percent, math proficiency at 30.1 percent and science at 58.5 percent for an average of 46.1 percent.

Young said the staff is studying the report card results to see how they can help their students better succeed.