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Schools get marks under new system

The Eagle Point School District recorded a high and a low in a state review of the performance of high poverty schools, with one of its schools listed as exemplary and a second landing in the bottom 15 percent of the rankings.

Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction Rudy Crew announced Friday the state has identified 95 Oregon schools that will receive additional support and interventions from the state to help increase student achievement and close persistent achievement gaps.

Identification of these schools is one component of Oregon's new accountability system approved last month by the U.S. Department of Education.

Oregon's new system replaces the former mandates imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

In the report, Shady Cove Elementary School was recognized as a "model" school for performing in the top 5 percent of high poverty schools statewide. Ashland's John Muir wilderness school also was one of the 27 high poverty schools recognized for high performance.

The new system also ranks schools as "priority," which includes the bottom 5 percent, and "focus," which includes the bottom 15 percent.

Hillside Elementary School, formerly known as Little Butte Elementary, was listed as one of 60 "focus" schools. No other schools in Jackson or Josephine counties were on any of the lists.

Hillside was listed as an "improvement" school last year, specifically needing higher achievement in mathematics. Since then, the school has revised its improvement plan, focusing more on math curriculum and teacher training, said Tina Mondale, Eagle Point's school improvement director.

"Sometimes it takes a while to have those results translate into student growth," Mondale said.

Mondale said higher achieving schools in the Eagle Point district, such as Shady Cove, will work with Hillside to come up with ways to improve student performance. Every school in the district has what Mondale called "instructional coaches" who work with teachers and suggest ways to improve their instructional strategies.

"It's something we've been focusing on," Mondale said.

The schools on the priority and focus lists will be asked to analyze the areas in which they're struggling and develop improvement plans. The model schools will be asked to share best practices and assist other schools.

Five representatives, including teachers, principals and administrators, from the priority and focus schools are required to attend a two-day Oregon Department of Education workshop in Eugene on Aug. 13. Model schools may choose whether they want to attend.

Mondale said after the workshop, the district will have more specific plans for improving achievement at Hillside. Those who attend will receive teacher training and learn about time lines and new state expectations.

Reach University of Oregon reporting intern Josephine Woolington at jwoolington@mailtribune.com.