Fall River, MA, September 19, 2012 – Atlantis Charter School increased the overall percentage of students scoring proficient or higher on the state’s MCAS exams by two percentage points in ELA (from 69% in 2011 to 71% in 2012) and nine percentage points in math (from 49% in 2011 to 58% in 2012). Atlantis surpassed the state average in 10 of the 14 MCAS exams administered, which represents the school’s highest overall performance in its history as well as its highest performance relative to the statewide scores. Among the top results for the school, 80% of third graders scored proficient or above in reading (19 percentage points above the state average) and 72% of 6th graders scored proficient or above in math (12 percentage points above the state average).
“We are incredibly proud of our students, families, teachers, staff, and supporters,” said Robert Beatty, Executive Director. “As a school community, we have dedicated ourselves to the simple concept of continual improvement. We’re constantly reviewing what we do, looking to expand our successes where they already exist, and working hard to accelerate improvement where it’s needed.”
Under the state’s new accountability system (approved through the NCLB flexibility waiver granted to Massachusetts), Atlantis Charter School is designated a “Level 1” school on a scale of 1 to 5, where “1” identifies schools that are meeting the proficiency gap-narrowing goals set by the state and “5” identifies “chronically underperforming schools.”
“The revision to the state’s accountability system is an important step forward for the state and for Atlantis,” said Beatty. “Under the revised system, schools are given more credit for improvement over time, growth of individual students, and progress in moving kids out of the lowest performance category (‘Warning’) and for moving kids into the highest performance category (‘Advanced’). Previous accountability measures under NCLB put too much emphasis on just reaching ‘Proficiency.’”
Under the new system, schools are given “extra credit” toward their performance index score for either increasing the percentage of students scoring in the “Advanced” category by at least 10% or decreasing the percentage of students scoring in the “Warning” category by at least 10% for statistically significant demographic subgroups. These subgroups include the state’s new “High Needs” subgroup, which is an unduplicated count of students belonging to at least one of the following individual subgroups: students with disabilities, English language learners (ELL) and Former ELL students, or low income students (those eligible for free/reduced price school lunch).
“Of all of the information released by the state, one of the things that we’re proudest of is that Atlantis received ‘extra credit’ for increasing the percentage of students scoring “Advanced” both school-wide and among our high-needs population in all three tested areas: ELA, math, and science. We also received ‘extra credit’ for decreasing the percentage of students scoring in the “Warning” category both school-wide and among our high-needs population in math and school-wide in science. The fact that we’re seeing significant improvement both school-wide and among our highest-need students is a testament to the expertise and hard work of the teachers, specialists, counselors, parents, and others, who are dedicated to making sure that we support all students equally.”
Overall, Atlantis received “extra credit” in 20 out of a possible 28 categories.
“As with any release of information, the most important question is ‘what are you going to do with it?’” said Beatty. “We’re going to take this data and use it to accelerate the kind of improvements that will lead to greater student success in school and beyond.”