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State lists 4 Benton County schools among Oregon's best

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The annual Oregon Department of Education school report cards released Thursday rank four Benton County schools as among the best in the state.

Hoover, Mountain View and Blodgett elementary schools and Franklin K-8 School all were ranked level 5 schools, meaning that they are in the top 10 percent of Oregon’s schools. The rankings are based on academic achievement, academic growth and the

academic performance among minority, special education, English language learners and low-income students. Rankings for high schools also include graduation rates.

Most public schools in the county were level 4 — the largest share of schools — which are those scoring between the 44th and 90th percentiles on the state’s ranking.

Three Benton County schools — Corvallis, Philomath and Alsea high schools — were categorized in level 3, meaning they scored between the 15th and 44th percentile.

No Benton County schools were ranked as level 1 or 2, which signify rankings among the bottom 15 percent of schools in the state.

A new component of the reports this year compares schools to other schools that have similar demographics.

Although Corvallis High School’s ranking was below the state average in overall rankings, the new component shows that its performance is “about average” for a school with similar student demographics.

Philomath and Alsea high schools were both rated “below average” when compared to schools with similar demographics.

The new evaluation of schools’ performance in comparison to similar schools is a part of an overhaul to the state’s school report cards that began this year.

“Our education system is changing; our schools are changing, and we needed these report cards to change as well to better tell our schools’ stories and to provide parents and community members with critical information on student and school performance,” said Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton.

School and district report cards are available on ODE’s website, http://bit.ly/3Ev8wX.

In a statement attached to the Corvallis School District’s report card, Superintendent Erin Prince noted that district performance exceeds state average at all levels, but she identifies areas where the district needs to improve.

“There still remains an opportunity gap for students of poverty, students with disabilities, students of color, and students where English is their second language. Additionally, a 70 percent graduation rate — whether it is a 4-year cohort or a 5-year completion rate — is not acceptable,” she noted.

Philomath High School Principal Ken Ball, commenting on the Philomath High School report card, noted that the school had academic success on standardized tests, but “subgroups” such as the economically disadvantaged have not shown enough growth improvement.

Both Monroe High School and Monroe Grade School were ranked above the state average in the new overall rating system, and above average when compared to schools with similar demographics.

Randy Crowson, Monroe’s superintendent, told the Gazette-Times Thursday that the district didn’t look bad in the evaluations, but the performance of students on standardized writing tests stood out as an area that needs improvement.

More than 52 percent of Monroe 11th-graders did not meet writing standards last year.

Crowson said other than the writing results, the district will look more at the results for individual students rather than the overall results, and try to make improvements on a personalized level.

Gazette-Times reporter Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or anthony.rimel@lee.net.

Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or anthony.rimel@lee.net.

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