Warwick: Springfield schools continue to see improvement

Oct. 13, 2016 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – More Springfield students are considering college. More of them are doing better on standardized test. Fewer of them are getting into trouble.

Those were some of the results shared by Superintendent Daniel Warwick at the School Committee meeting on Oct. 6. Statistics show there has been considerable progress made in improving the Springfield public schools since 2011.

Warwick reminded the School Committee that Springfield is the second largest school district in New England, with 58 schools and 25,479 students. Of those students, 19.8 percent require special education, 16.3 percent are English Language Learners and 67.1 percent are classified as economically disadvantaged.

Warwick also explained the method of determining levels of poverty has changed. The previous used low-income percentage was dictated by the children living in households with income below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Now that it’s the percent of children living in household receiving one of the following benefits: food stamps, Temporary Aid to Families with Dependent Children, foster care or MassHealth.

The periods compared were the 2011-2012 school year and the 2015-2016 school year. Student attendance has increased from 91.8 percent to 93.5 percent. During that time the graduation rate went from 56.6 percent to 66.7 percent. Participation in the SAT test rose from 555 students to 1.423 students.

Academic proficiency overall from grades 3-8 and 10 went from 32 percent to 40 percent.

Warwick broke down some of the demographics of the testing results. For instance, the overall CPI for African-American students for English Language Arts was 77.1. It was 73.5 in 2015. The state’s average is 77.1 For Latino students, in the same test, the overall CPI was 72.7, up from 69.8. The state’s average is 76.4.

Behavior issues have also improved. In school suspensions declined from 4,400 to 2,009 while out of school suspensions also dropped from 6,629 to 4,121. The number of arrests went from 305 to 80 and the reported incidences of bullying went from 184 to 151.

In evaluating the schools, in 2012, there was one Level 1 school, five Level 2, 25 level 3 and 11 level 4. In 2016, there are now 9 level 1 schools, 7 level 2, 20 at Level 3 and 9 at Level 4.

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