LAWRENCE — Lawrence Public Schools made dramatic improvements during its first full year under state receivership, according to MCAS test results released yesterday by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
After several years of declining MCAS growth scores in English, students in the state’s most troubled public school district proved they are capable of doing much better.
Lawrence Public Schools exceeded its first year District Turnaround Plan goal of doubling the number of schools in which students outperform their academic peers. The district nearly tripled the number of schools doing so, as eight schools had a so-called Student Growth Percentile (SGP) of over 50 in both English and Math compared to three schools last year.
The percent of students district-wide scoring proficient or higher in mathematics increased between 2012 and 2013 by double-digits in grades 3, 8 and 10.
“These are strong results and a credit to the hard work and commitment of the students and educators of Lawrence,” said state Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. “We set out to turn around chronic low performance in the district. There is still much work to do in Lawrence to ensure that all students are ready for success at the next level. But these early results demonstrate that the district’s accelerated turnaround strategies are providing schools with the necessary tools to improve outcomes.”
The school district doubled the number of Level 1 schools this year from two to four, with the Guilmette Elementary and Wetherbee School advancing into the top category in a five-level accountability system that measures performance. Schools designated as Level 1 are among the top 30 percent in the state.
This is the first time in three years that a Lawrence school hasn’t been downgraded to Level 4, the state’s lowest achieving and least improving schools. Lawrence had six of the state’s 43 Level 4 schools last year.