4 Baldwin schools excel on assessments
The Baldwin School District is proving its schools are ones worthy of being called excellent.
Four out of the district's five schools -- Baldwin High School, Baldwin Junior High School, Vinland Elementary School and Baldwin Elementary School -- all received at least one Standard of Excellence designation on state assessment tests.
"I think it's a tribute to the hard work our teaching staff put in this year and to the changes they've made in their teaching approach over the last two years," Supt. James White said.
State assessments act as schools' report cards and are the state's way of grading schools. It's part of the effort to stay in compliance with President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.
Standard of Excellence, the highest achievement possible, is determined by the number of students that score in the proficient, advanced and exemplary categories on the tests.
Before a couple of years ago, White said the district did not put as much emphasis on the state assessments as it did its own curriculum.
He said when the district realized just how important the assessments were to the state, it changed its philosophy.
"We went about aligning our curriculum to the state standards so our kids would have an equal opportunity," he said. "That philosophical change was huge and I think we are just beginning to see the benefits of that change in philosophy."
This year, the schools received six Standards of Excellence on the state assessments.
The juniors at BHS received a Standard of Excellence on the social studies state assessment.
"It just shows the quality program we have here," Allen Poplin, BHS principal, said. "We're extremely proud of our students here and our staff as well."
Poplin said the school was also close to receiving Standards of Excellence in the reading and math categories.
"Our goal is to certainly accomplish that in all of them next year," he said.
The BJHS seventh graders received top honors in science.
"We're excited," Connie Wright, BJHS principal, said. "This is very important for us."
Wright said the school also made progress in all of the other test scores as well.
"Our goal is to reach Standards of Excellence in every area," she said.
VES fourth graders also performed well in the science category, receiving Standard of Excellence for their scores.
"It's just a feather in the cap for students," Bill Scott, VES principal, said. "I'm quite proud of the kids."
BES had three Standards of Excellence this year. The fourth graders' scores in science and math netted them the honors, while the fifth graders triumphed in the reading assessments.
Scott said the honors are big accomplishments for the district.
"I'm happy for the whole district," he said. "It demonstrates with cooperation and commitment that almost anything can be accomplished."
White said this is the direction the district wants to go.
"I think it puts us right on track for accomplishing the goals of No Child Left Behind," he said. "It may be only the beginning of what's to come."
He said even though performances by this year's schools set standards high, he knows the district can continue its success.
"We just have good things to look forward to," he said.
The schools, White said, should be proud of their top honors.
"I think the faculty and staff and students all put in a lot of effort," he said. "I know our administrators are very proud of them for their accomplishments this year on the state assessments."