SYRACUSE — Among the many reports public school corporations are involved in each year is the annual performance report. The 2016 version for the Wawasee Community School Corp. was recently released by the Indiana Department of Education.
The APR is a detailed snapshot generated by different reports submitted by the school corporation, as well as state data. It contains a wide range of data for the school corporation as a whole and also each of the schools within the district. For a few examples, there is enrollment information, attendance rates, ISTEP+ data, A-F accountability grades, number of certified teachers, number of students receiving free or reduced price lunches and much more.
Enrollment is down for Wawasee schools to 3,045 compared to 3,165 a year ago. Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, noted the incoming kindergarten class for the current school year is smaller than the 2016 graduating class of Wawasee High School. Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, said an overwhelming majority of more rural school districts statewide are seeing a gradual decline in enrollment as more people move to the larger urban areas such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville.
“We don’t feel like school choice is a reason (for the decline in enrollment),” Goshert said, but rather students moving out of the district.
The number of students in career and technical programs grew significantly from 703 to 828 between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years and will likely grow even more. More programs have been added to the Wawasee cooperative in the last two to three years, including welding this year, and welding will be expanded in the next school year. Also, it is hoped more alternative school students could benefit from career and technical programs.
School accountability grades are “softer” and the formula used has improved, Goshert said, but for elementary schools only ISTEP+ scores and growth data is used. The high school includes more information such as graduation rate, college and career readiness and the number of students in advanced placement courses.
APR data is helpful and useful information, but at times can be somewhat misleading. For one example, Goshert and Edington noted the percentage of eighth-graders in algebra I has decreased because there are more seventh-graders taking algebra I and more eighth-graders taking geometry. And the percentage of high school students passing the end of course assessment for math decreased, but fewer students took the assessment in 2015-16 because many of them needing to had already passed it in a previous year.
There were 11 students expelled from the high school in 2015-16, though all of them were at least offered ways to continue their education and still earn credits, Goshert noted.
The number of students receiving free or reduced price lunches continues to increase. There were 1,408 in 2013-14, 1,415 in 2014-15 and 1,432 in 2015-16. Overall, the percentage rate is at 45.2 for the school corporation. Edington noted about 10 years ago, the number was at less than 20 percent.
This report can also be accessed online at www.wawasee.k12.in.us.