“Incredibly proud of the hard work by so many people that went into making this happen,” is how Chris Mitten described his reaction to the news that Windham Elementary School has been recognized by the state board of education for its improvement.
Mitten is the principal of Daleville Middle School but had been Windham Elementary School Principal in 2019 when the elementary school received an “F” on the Alabama Report Card.
The Academic Report Cards are the result of the Legislative School Performance Recognition Program Act, created by the state legislature, which legally requires a letter grade assessment to be assigned to each public school. The state law passed in 2012 but was never implemented until three years ago in conjunction with federal law.
The A-F grading system is the most commonly used method. The letter grade is a snapshot of how the school performed during previous years. The test scores and attendance information is gathered from the last academic year.
At the Daleville Board of Education meeting Feb. 17, Mitten said that the Legislative School Performance report from the Alabama State Department of Education listed Windham Elementary School in the top 25 percent of public schools “demonstrating exemplary progress by improving their overall annual ranking by at least one letter grade.”
WES raised their score from an “F” to a “C” on the Alabama Report Card in one year, Mitten said, crediting “the hard work and accomplishment,” of educators, students and their family members. “We are moving in the right direction,” he said.
At issue was the January 2019 “report card” scores for schools that revealed that Daleville City Schools, as a whole, received a “D.” WES had received an “F.”
For elementary schools, the grade is determined by three key indicators: academic achievement, academic growth, chronic absenteeism. Academic achievement is 20 percent of the overall grade, academic growth is 25 percent, absenteeism is 10 percent and 5 percent progress in English language proficiency.
On Jan. 15, 2019, Mitten met with educators and parents to discuss the score. He reiterated that the school “owns” the current report card score but said that he had high hopes for next year’s report card. “Yes, this is our data; we own it” he said at that meeting. “This is my school; I own it. This is a speed bump. We’re slowing down; it’s a hurdle we have to go over. Soon, we’ll be on the other side picking up speed again.”
The next school year the school had earned a 19-point increase.
The schools recognized on the Legislative School Performance Program list released by the state department of education in January of this year will receive a Legislative Recognition Award of $5,00 to be used by the school.
“When I got back from the last school board meeting and I went to check my email is when we got the news that Windham Elementary School is on the Legislative School Performance Recognition Program list,” said Dalevillle City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Stamps. “That accomplishment speaks volumes about what he and the staff did that year to bring the school from an ‘F’ to a ‘C’,” she said. “We are very proud of that.”
In other business, Stamps gave board members the plans for r Phase 2 of the renovation being done as the school system completely reopens the middle school section of the Daleville High School building that had been closed for 10 years. Plans include finalizing the pavement and concrete work and the addition of a science lab, a media center and a new bathroom that will go into the self contained special needs classroom on the fifth and sixth grade hall.
In unrelated business, the board approved the use of the school-owned property on the corner of Highway134 and Daleville Avenue by the Daleville Area Chamber of Commerce for the Farmers Market to be held April 29 to Sept. 30.
The next meeting of the Daleville BOE is in the Daleville High School cafeteria March 17 at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.