Submitted by John Arbeeny.
Each week as a public service Lakewood CARES will be providing the real academic situation in response schools highlighted in the Suburban Times by Clover Park School District (CPSD). This is data you will not find elsewhere in CPSD propaganda pieces, Board meeting agendas or “Inside Schools”. All this talk about pride without addressing the reality of academic performance is “false pride” designed by the District’s “spin doctors” to keep the public in the dark. This week’s CPSD “beaming with pride” covers Thomas Middle School.
In the spring of 2023 only 38.2% of Thomas Middle School students met State standards for English Language Arts (ELA), 18.8% for math and 24.3% for science. That’s an average of about 27% of students who met all State standards in these three critical basic education subject areas. To put it another way: 73% of Thomas Middle School students failed to meet State standards. This data comes directly from the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI). Unfortunately at CPSD there appears to be more emphasis on changing “culture” via the “Four Pillars” rather than increasing academic success via the “Three R’s”. I’d suggest that CPSD fix its academics and the “culture” will take care of itself.
Schooldigger is a source of academic trends going back to 2015 which are not provided by the annual OSPI “snapshot” year to year. Indeed OSPI deletes previous year academic performance from its website “report card” with no easy way to retrieve such data! I have to wonder why! Thus Schooldigger and other such sites are invaluable in determining educational trends for CPSD and its schools. Schooldigger trends are based upon OSPI data.
So where does Thomas Middle School stack up against all middle schools in the State? It is ranked 438th out of a total of 539 middle schools: 19% (percentile) which is to say 81% of the State’s middle schools outperform Thomas Middle School academically. This is a trend in the wrong direction. In 2022 it was ranked at 30% and plummeted a significant 11% in just one year as compared with all other middle schools statewide. Thomas Middle School has the dubious honor of being the District’s “best” middle school academically at 19% when compared to Hudtloff Middle School (10%) and Lochburn Middle School (2%).
There is nothing in these statistics to take pride in. Indeed it is regrettable. Is there any wonder that when middle school students are this far behind in basic education that their future in high school becomes even more bleak? All kinds of excuses can be made by CPSD apologists: blame race, ethnicity, family situation, economics, students, parents, etc. But in the end CPSD’s failure academically lies directly in the lap of Superintendent, Board and staff for an educational system that is designed to fail and fail it does. Until that changes, academic performance will not improve.