The Case for (or Against) Forest Heights Middle School

Tonight (10.4.12) at 5:30 pm, I will join fourth and fifth grade parents at Dr. Don R. Roberts Elementary School to hear the principal of Forest Heights Middle School – the zoned middle school for Roberts – and former Roberts parents with students enrolled at Forest Heights make the case for attending their school.

Their work is cut out for them.

The Arkansas Department of Education directs parents to NORMES (The National Office for Research on Measurement and Evaluation Systems) for information regarding school performance. As difficult as the site is to compare all the schools in Arkansas, if one takes the time and effort, revelatory information may be gleaned.

Here’s how Forest Heights’ 2010-11 major indicators compare to the other 211 public middle schools in Arkansas.

School Information

Accredited-cited – Among Lowest 38 in Arkansas (Lowest 18%)

No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress

Achieving Standards – No; But in fairness, only 32 middle schools in Arkansas are, which makes all the other stats look even worse (Lowest 75%)
State Directed – Yes; Among Lowest 38 in Arkansas (Lowest 18%)

Gains and Status

Gains Index – 1-Schools in Need of Immediate Improvement; Among Lowest 46 in Arkansas (Lowest 22%)
Status Index – 3-Schools Meeting Standards; Among Lowest 42 in Arkansas (Lowest 20%)

Teacher Quality

Percent Teachers Completely Certified – 84.7%; 200th out of 211 in Arkansas (Lowest 5%)

If all that weren’t bad enough, Forest Heights is in School Improvement: Year 7, and yet its Percent of Teachers Completely Certified has steadily declined from 100% in 2008-09, to 90% in 2009-10, to 84.7% in 2010-11. So much for the district’s much ballyhooed middle school reforms.

Good luck tonight.

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