Submitted by John Arbeeny.
On 13 November 2023 the CPSD Board was briefed on Lochburn Middle School by Principal Carla Estes. This briefing can be viewed on Youtube at 42:35 on link below:
While Ms. Estes has been Lochburn’s principal for 3 years, the EDI philosophy she espoused has been around since 2018. So how successful has this “shared belief system” been academically?
Here are the facts, for Lochburn in ELA and math based upon Smarter Balance Assessment (SBA) testing and aggregated directly from briefing slides:
Lochburn students meeting ELA (English Language Arts) standards vs. Washington statewide (grades 6,7,8)
2019 Lochburn: 32.7% vs. 58.5%
2022 Lochburn: 17.7% vs. 48.0%
2023 Lochburn: 19.8% vs. 48.2%
Lochburn students meeting math standards vs. Washington statewide (grades 6,7,8)
2019 Lochburn: 21.8% vs. 47.1%
2022 Lochburn: 11.2% vs. 33.9%
2023 Lochburn: 10.8% vs. 35.3%
Here are the facts for Lochburn in science based upon the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) for 8th grade only:
Lochburn students meeting science standards vs. Washington statewide
2019 Lochburn: 21.6% vs. 51.5%
2022 Lochburn: 14.3% vs 40.0%
2023 Lochburn: 22.3% vs. 41.4%
Since 2019 Washington middle school students statewide have been nearly two and one half times more likely to meet State academic standards than students at Lochburn.
The “STAR Growth” slide reveals that Lochburn’s grades 6-8 are sequestered in the “low academic performance” and “low growth” quadrant. This means that students who are behind academically and have low growth will be left further and further behind academically over time. The stated goal is to have Lochburn achieve a Student Growth Percentile (SGP) of 55 percentile. This goal is ambitious since Lochburn’s SGP (2018-2019) for ELA was 28.5 and for math 25.5, well below the median of 50 required just to keep pace with other middle schools.
Lochburn’s mission statement emphasizes students being prepared to be “…successful in school and … college bound”. Yet in reality many, if not most, students will not be “college bound”, nor should they be. The push towards college preparation over vocational training has left many students disinterested in school, unprepared for life after graduation, and failing in college with huge student debt. In the mean time good paying vocational jobs go wanting.
There were several slides outlining various programs to address academics, family engagement and supportive culture. I was especially intrigued by the Entrepreneurial Academy and Classes that are close to practical vocational programs. Perhaps there should be more like them. Bill Gates is a prime example of an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a college degree! What was missing, however, were program start or termination dates, objective effectiveness measures or track records towards goal accomplishment. Programs may sound great but without this information the only objective measures of program effectiveness are academic statistical trends over time.
Over the next several years with new Directors on the School Board we will be able to track the academic progress of Lochburn and other schools from the past, present and into the future. Lochburn and other schools’ progress to date will serve as benchmarks from which to measure future education effectiveness. CPSD and schools have academic histories that must be acknowledged if they are to improve. Now is the time to learn from those histories or be doomed to repeat them.