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Public School Enrollment Exceeds Population Growth in Little Rock

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It was recently reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that, based on day ten attendance, the Springdale School District has surpassed Little Rock as the largest school district in Arkansas.

This is true.

However, what was not reported is that, despite weak population growth in the City over the past few decades, more students now attend public schools in the Little Rock School District footprint and the City of Little Rock than at any time in history.

Year LRSD  PCSSD (in LR)  Charters (in LR)  Total  LR Population  Public School Students as % of Population 
 1985  18,834    -      
 1986  19,060    -      
 1987  26,079    -      
 1988  26,663    -      
 1989  25,090    -      
 1990  24,658    -    175,795  
 1991  24,476    -      
 1992  24,364    -      
 1993  23,264    -      
 1994  23,013    -      
 1995  24,433    -      
 1996      -      
 1997  24,665    -      
 1998  24,975    -      
 1999  25,047    -      
 2000  25,077    -    183,180  
 2001  25,936    -      
 2002  25,727    -      
 2003  25,701    -      
 2004  24,424  4,872  163  29,459    
 2005  25,095  4,823  299  30,217  186,396  16.21%
 2006  25,500  4,830  359  30,689    
 2007  25,738  4,719  655  31,112    
 2008  24,660  4,411  1,714  30,785    
 2009  24,380  4,301  1,918  30,599    
 2010  24,226  4,101  2,215  30,542  193,524  15.78%
 2011  24,049  4,033  2,870  30,952  195,048  15.87%
 2012  23,594  4,624  3,015  31,233  196,228  15.92%
 2013  23,676  4,430  3,052  31,158  196,830  15.88%
 2014  23,363  4,366  3,374  31,103  197,235  15.78%
 2015  23,164  4,385  3,745  31,294  197,864  15.82%
 2016  22,759  4,130  4,244  31,133  198,307  15.70%
 2017  22,338  4,145  5,044  31,527  198,606  15.87%
 2018*  22,664          
 Increase/Decline Since 1985
-3,415 (-13%)
Since 2005
-727 (-15%)
Since 2005
+4,881 (+2,994%)
Since 2004 
+2,068 (+7%)
Since 2005
+5,082 (+6.6%)
Since 2010
+0.09

 
*10th Day Attendance; Includes Pre-K

Fast Facts:

  • There were more public school students in Little Rock last year than at any time in history
  • Public school enrollment in Little Rock has increased +2,068 students (7%) since 2004
  • Open-enrollment public charter school enrollment is the only increasing public school enrollment
  • Public school enrollment as a percentage of Little Rock's population has essentially been stable over the past 12 years
  • Since charters were introduced to Little Rock in 2004, they have grown enrollment by 4,881 students, while LRSD lost 2,086 and PCSSD lost 727 for a combined district loss of 2,813.
  • Charter enrollment exceeded the combined school district loss by 2,068 students
  • Charters are retaining, returning public school students to Little Rock at a rate which exceeds population growth

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LRSD: Demand vs. Supply

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, September 3, 2018

[WORK IN PROGRESS]

The following is the Little Rock School District’s Average Daily Membership (ADM) (i.e. enrollment) over the past 32 years compared to estimated district and city population.

Over the past thirty-two years, LRSD enrollment decreased 19 times and increased ten times.

1985 - 1986: Increased
1987 - 1994: Decreased Each Year
1996 - 2001: Increased Each Year
2001 - 2004: Decreased Each Year
2004 - 2007: Increased Each Year
2007 - 2012: Decreased Each Year
2012 - 2013: Increased
2013 - 2017: Decreased Each Year

*1990 Bond Filing
**1993 Bond Filing
***1995 Bond Filing
****2000 Bond Filing
*****2003 Bond Filing

1985
LRSD ADM: 18,834*
District Population: 75,336*

1986
LRSD ADM: 19,060*
Est. District Population: 76,240*
+226 (+1.2%)

1987 (Part of PCSSD Annexed by LRSD)
LRSD ADM: 26,824*; 26,079**
Est. District Population: 107,296*; 159,381**

1988
LRSD ADM: 26,677*; 25,663**
Est. District Population: 106,708*; 179,054**
-416 (-1.6%)

1989
LRSD ADM: 28,550*; 25,090**
Est. District Population: 114,200*; 179,054**
-573 (-2.2%)

1990
LRSD ADM: 24,658**
Est. District Population: 179,054**
-432 (-1.7%)

1991
LRSD ADM: 24,476**
Est. District Population: 179,054**
-182 (-0.7%)

1992
LRSD ADM: 24,364***
Est. District Population: 175,795***
-112 (-0.5 %)

1993
LRSD ADM: 23,264***
Est. District Population: 175,795***
-1,100 (-4.5%)

1994
LRSD ADM: 23,013***
Est. District Population: 175,795***
-251 (-1.1%)

1995
LRSD ADM: 
Est. District Population:

1996
LRSD ADM: 24,433****
Est. District Population: 181,280****

1997
LRSD ADM: 24,665****
Est. District Population: 181,295****
+232 (+0.9%)

1998
LRSD ADM: 24,975****
Est. District Population: 182,399****
+310 (+1.3%)

1999
LRSD ADM: 25,047****
Est. District Population: 181,551****
+72 (+0.3%)

2000
LRSD ADM: 25,150****; 25,077*****
Est. District Population: 181,551****
+30 (+0.1%)

2001
LRSD ADM: 25,936*****
Est. District Population: 181,750*****
+859 (+3.4%)

2002
LRSD ADM: 25,727*****
Est. District Population: 182,000*****
-212 (-0.8%)

2003
LRSD ADM: 25,701*****
Est. District Population: 182,274*****
-26 (-0.1%)

2004
LRSD ADM: 24,424
Est. District Population:
-1,277 (-5%)

2005
LRSD ADM: 25,095
Est. District Population:
+671 (+2.7%)

2006
LRSD ADM: 25,500
Est. District Population:
+405 (+1.6%)

2007
LRSD ADM: 25,738
Est. District Population:
+238 (+0.9%)

2008
LRSD ADM: 24,660
Est. District Population:
-1,078 (-4.2%)

2009
LRSD ADM: 24,380
Est. District Population:
-280 (-1.1%)

2010
LRSD ADM: 24,226
Est. District Population:
-154 (-0.6%)

2011
LRSD ADM: 24,049
Est. District Population:
-177 (-0.7%)

2012
LRSD ADM: 23,594
Est. District Population:
-455 (-1.9%)

2013
LRSD ADM: 23,676
Est. District Population:
+82 (+0.3%)

2014
LRSD ADM: 23,363
Est. District Population:
-313 (-1.3%)

2015
LRSD ADM: 23,164
Est. District Population:
-199 (-0.9%)

2016
LRSD ADM: 22,759
Est. District Population:
-405 (-1.7%)

2017
LRSD ADM: 22,338
Est. District Population:
-421 (-1.9%)

2018 (Estimated)
LRSD ADM: 22,644******
Est. District Population:

******Includes Pre-K

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State Issues A-F Report Cards for Schools, Over Half of LRSD Schools 'D' or 'F'

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Arkansas Department of Education released today the 2017 Arkansas School Performance Reports. The reports, which reflect information from the 2016-17 school year, highlight student academic achievement and growth, graduation rate (for high schools), and school quality and student success for public schools in the state.

As a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Arkansas is able to include additional information that will give educators, parents and communities a better picture of overall school success. For example, for the first time ever, the ESSA School Index score (a calculation that includes students' weighted achievement and growth on state required assessments for grades three through 10, graduation rates (for high schools), and school quality and student success) provides parents an in-depth report of schools' progress toward the approved indicators.

The Accountability At-a-Glance proves the letter grades for schools, which are based on ESSA School Index scores, and visuals that provide information about the overall ESSA School Index score and the overall score for six subgroups. Each school is assigned to a grade span based on the grades the school serves or the grade range of the school.

Grade Span
Number of Schools A  B
C
D
F
 Elementary  535

 83
 (15.51%)

 146
 (27.29%)
 196
 (36.64%)
 88
 (16.45%)
 22
 (4.11%)
 Middle Level  204  46
 (22.55%)
 58
 (28.43%)
 66
 (32.35%)
 32
 (15.69%)
 2
 (0.98%)
 High School  301  34
 (11.30%)
 86
 (28.57%)
 122
 (40.53%)
 50
 (16.61%)
 9
 (2.99%)
 Totals  1,040  163  290   384  170  33


ADE spent numerous hours obtaining stakeholder feedback throughout the process of developing Arkansas's accountability plan under ESSA. In addition, a total of seven meetings with educators, parents, students and education associations were held to obtain feedback on the letter grade score ranges. School districts have had the opportunity to review their ESSA School Index scores on multiple occasions, and ADE team members held numerous regional meetings with district personnel to provide information about the scores and obtain feedback prior to the release of the report cards.

While comprehensive, the performance reports are just one tool parents, schools and communities can use to determine student and school success. The tool should be used to encourage ongoing communication between all stakeholders as they work together to improve education for all students. Letters to parents and educators explaining the range of indicator scores for each letter grade or school rating are available here. Letter grades and detailed reports on each school are available here.

The Accountability At-a-Glance, School Report Card and ESSA School Index Report are available on ADE's My School Info website. For assistance regarding how to access the information available in My School Info, please see the following videos:

Additional information documents are available here.

Grades PreK-5 Grade Span Rankings

Rating  Total Score Range 
 A  > 80.35
 B  73.47 - 8.34
 C  65.98 - 73.46
 D  58.97 - 65.97
 F  < 58.96


Grades 6-8 Grade Span Rankings

Rating Total Score Range
A  > 78.37
B  72.58 - 78.36
C  65.93 - 72.57
D  56.24 - 65.92
F  < 56.23

Grades 9-12 Grade Span Rankings

Rating Total Score Range
A  > 75.40
B  59.58 - 75.39
C  62.78 - 69.57
D  54.48 - 62.77
F  < 54.47


Little Rock School District

The State-controlled Little Rock School District's pockets of excellence (five of state's 83 elementary 'A's) were overwhelmed by below average grades in a majority of its schools, including:

  • 33.33% (3 of 9) of State's 'F' High Schools
  • 15% (16 of 110) of State's 'D' or 'F' Elementary Schools
  • 14% (3 of 22) of State's 'F' Elementary Schools
  • 9% (3 of 34) of State's 'D' or 'F' Middle Schools
  • 6% (5 of 83) of State's 'A' Elementary Schools

Here are the district's grades, scores and comparison to state:

High Schools  Grade  Score  State Comparison 
 Parkview  B  70.72  (1 of 86 in State)
 Central  C  67.38  (1 of 122 in State)
 Fair  F  52.04  (1 of 9 in State)
 McClellan  F  48.85  (1 of 9 in State)
 Hall  F  47.39  (1 of 9 in State)

 

Middle Schools
Grade  Score  State Comparison 
 Forest Heights STEM*  A  80.26  (1 of 46 in State)
 Pinnacle View**  B  77.83  (1 of 58 in State)
 Pulaski Heights  C  72.55  (1 of 66 in State)
 Mann  C  70.43  (1 of 66 in State)
 Dunbar  C  66.99  (1 of 66 in State)
 Mabelvale  D  61.42  (1 of 32 in State)
 Henderson  D  58.71  (1 of 32 in State)
 Cloverdale  D  58.63  (1 of 32 in State)

*K-8
**6

Elementary Schools
Grades  Score
State Comparison 
 Forest Park  A  89.39  (1 of 83 in State) 
 Roberts  A  89.36  (1 of 83 in State)
 Williams  A  82.06  (1 of 83 in State)
 Jefferson  A  80.54  (1 of 83 in State)
 Forest Heights STEM  A  80.26  (1 of 83 in State)
 Pulaski Heights  B  79.47  (1 of 146 in State)
 Gibbs  B  79.43  (1 of 146 in State)
 Terry  C  72.22  (1 of 196 in State)
 Otter Creek  C  70.63  (1 of 196 in State)
 Carver  C  70.49  (1 of 196 in State)
 Wakefield  C   69.19  (1 of 196 in State) 
 Booker  C  68.20  (1 of 196 in State)
 McDermott  C  67.52  (1 of 196 in State)
 Rockefeller  D  65.82  (1 of 88 in State)
 King  D  65.05  (1 of 88 in State)
 Western Hills  D  64.79  (1 of 88 in State)
 Dodd  D  63.37  (1 of 88 in State)
 Baseline  D  63.35  (1 of 88 in State)
 Brady  D  62.57  (1 of 88 in State)
 Mabelvale  D  62.24  (1 of 88 in State)
 Meadowcliff  D  62.22  (1 of 88 in State)
 Wilson***  D  62.12  (1 of 88 in State)
 Washington  D  61.9  (1 of 88 in State)
 Romine  D  60.06  (1 of 88 in State)
 Chicot  D  59.92  (1 of 88 in State)
 Watson  D  59.7  (1 of 88 in State)
 Stephens  F  57.82  (1 of 22 in State)
 Bale  F  57.74  (1 of 22 in State)
 Franklin***  F  57.01  (1 of 22 in State)
***Closed

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Dear Little Rock, You're Welcome. Love, Arkansas

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dear Little Rock,

Tough love is, well, tough. But true love isn't a feeling which comes and goes; it's unwavering action.

Since our intervention on January 28, 2015:

2015-16

  • Academics
    • A-B Schools
      • A School (285 of 300; 2nd in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
      • B School (269 of 300; Tied for 7th in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
      • B School (265 of 300; Tied for 10th in Arkansas) - Parkview High School
    • Reward Schools (18 - Most in District History)
      • Top 5% Performing in Arkansas - Forest Park Elementary
      • Top 5% Performing in Arkansas - Gibbs Elementary
      • Top 5% Performing in Arkansas - Jefferson Elementary
      • Top 5% Performing in Arkansas - Roberts Elementary
      • Top 5% Performing in Arkansas - Williams Elementary
      • Top 6-10% Performing in Arkansas - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Forest Park Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Cloverdale Middle
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Forest Park Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Gibbs Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Mabelvale Middle
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Mann Middle
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansa - Pulaski Heights Middle
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Roberts Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Williams Elementary
      • Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas - Henderson Middlle
      • Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas) - Jefferson Elementary
  • Extra-curricular
    • State Championship
      • Boys Basketball - McClellan
  • Administration
    • Cut licensed staff (which includes administrators) by 166 (22%)
  • Equity
    • Lowest loss of White students on recent record (12 years): -99

2016-17

  • Academics
    • Baseline Elementary removed from Academic Distress
    • Reward Schools
      • Top 5% Performance in Arkansas - Fair Park Elementary
      • Top 5% Performance in Arkansas - Roberts Elementary
      • Top 6-10% Performance in Arkansas - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
      • Top 6-10% Performance in Arkansas - Gibbs Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Fair Park Elementary
      • Top 5% Growth in Arkansas - Roberts Elementary
      • Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas - Gibbs Elementary
  • Extra-curricular
    • State Championship
      • Boys Basketball - Parkview
  • Student Facilities
    • Pinnacle View Middle School opens sixth grade
  • Equity (more)
    • Lowest enrollment gap between African-American and White students on recent record (13 years): 10,549
    • Lowest loss of White students on recent record (13 years): - 11

2017-18

  • Academics
    • Fair, McClellan High Schools removed from Academic Distress
    • One of twelve districts, charters in Arkansas to improve in all grades on ACT Aspire; only second time on recent record (14 years) (more)
    • U.S. Department of Education names Roberts Elementary National Blue Ribbon School
  • Student Facilities
    • Low-enrollment Franklin, Wilson, Hamilton, Woodruff closed
    • Pinnacle View Middle School opens as largest building in district
    • Second lien bonds approved to build, refurbish student facilities
    • Ground broken for Little Rock Southwest High School
  • Administration
    • Highest projected revenue in history: $351,033,566 (more)
  • Equity (more)
    • Lowest loss of students to other schools on recent record (14 years): -334 (13-year average annual loss: -778)
    • Lowest enrollment gap between African-American and White students on recent record (14 years): 10,069
    • Narrowed percentage gap between African-American and White students for first time on recent record (14 years)
    • Second lowest loss of White students on recent record (14 years): -83
    • Cut historically highest exodus of students between fifth and sixth grades in half, from -368 to -185
    • Replacing attendance zone with elementary feeder schools, Pinnacle View opened as most demographically balanced school in district (2 or more races 1.2%, Asian 8.2%, Black 42%, Hispanic 4.7%, Native American/Native Alaskan .2%, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander .2%, White 43%)

While we've come a long way, we still have a long way to go. But we'll get there. Together. One day and one student at a time.

Love,

Arkansas

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Progress Yes, But What About Urgency of Bale, Hall, Fair, McClellan?

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

For two years now, Arkansas public school students - grades three through ten - have taken the ACT Aspire as their summative exam.

Here are the percentages of students at each school in the Little Rock School District meeting the readiness benchmark on the ACT Aspire exam in each of the past two years, as well as the schools' respective growth in each area.

Elementary
(3 - 5 Grades)
2015-16
English Language
Arts (ELA)
2016-17
English Language
Arts (ELA)
 
Growth  2015-16
(Science, Math)
STEM
2016-17
(Science, Math)
STEM
 
Growth
Bale  19%  14%  -5  21%  14%  -7
Baseline  16%  20%  +4  17%  28%  +11
Booker  34%  40%  +6  26%  33%  +7
Brady  19%  22%  +3  11%  18%  +7
Carver  32%  36%  +4  34%  41%  +7
Chicot  NA  22%  NA  NA  19%  NA
Dodd  20%  26%  +6  17%  25%  +8
Forest Park  82%  81%  -1  78%  74%  -4
Franklin  16%  16%  0  14%  13%  -1
Fulbright  44%  51%  +7  47%  43%  -4
Gibbs  65%  66%  +1  52%  58%  +6
Jefferson  53%  66%  +13  58%  70%  +12
King  27%  28%  +1  24%  26%  +2
Mabelvale  20%  24%  +4  15%  15%  0
McDermott  27%  32%  +5  24%  28%  +4
Meadowcliff  19%  20%  +1  19%  20%  +1
Otter Creek  32%  38%  +6  28%  31%  +3
Pulaski Heights  54%  61%  +7  51%  61%  +10
Roberts  77%  80%  -3  77%  75%  -2
Rockefeller  25%  27%  +2  17%  20%  +3
Romine  18%  19%  +1  16%  18%  +2
Stephens  18%  21%  +3  18%  16%  -2
Terry  41%  42%  -1  41%  39%  -2
Wakefield  22%  30%  +8  15%  25%  +10
Washington  18%  22%  +4  15%  18%  +3
Watson  9%  18%  +9  9%  13%  +4
Western Hills  31%  31%  0  26%  28%  +2
Williams  59%  66%  +7  62%  60%  -2
Wilson  17%  14%  -3  16%  19%  +3
K-8
(3 - 8 Grades)
     
Forest Heights  70%  71%  -1  61%  64%  +3
Middle
(6 - 8 Grades)
     
Cloverdale  23%  29%  +6  9%  15%  +6
Dunbar  35%  44%  +9  19%  26%  +7
Henderson  24%  32%  +8  12%  12%  0
Mabelvale  25%  31%  +6  15%  17%  +2
Mann  49%  53%  +4  33%  40%  +7
Pinnacle View (6th)  NA  69%  NA  NA  60%  NA
Pulaski Heights  55%  55%  0  45%  45%  0
High School
(9 - 10 Grades)
     
Central  53%  55%  +2  32%  36%  +4
Fair  19%  20%  +1  3%  4%  +1
Hall  12%  13%  +1  2%  4%  +2
McClellan  22%  18%  -4  4%  7%  +3
Parkview  46%  58%  +12  25%  29%  +4
             
LRSD Averages  37%  41%  +4  27%  31%  +4
             
Central AR Averages  47%  51%  +4  37%  41%  +4
             
Southeast AR Averages
 36%  40%  +4  27%  29%  +2
             
Arkansas Averages  48%  53%  +5  38%  42%  +4

 

The good news is that the Little Rock School District cumulatively improved academically at the state average in ELA and just one point below in STEM. Further, of 43 schools in the district last year:

  • 30 improved in ELA (English Language Arts) - 21 of 32 elementary schools, 0 of 1 K-8 school, 5 of 6 middle schools, 4 of 5 high schools
  • 30 improved in STEM (Math, Science) - 20 of 32 elementary schools, 1 of 1 K-8 school, 4 of 6 middle schools, 5 of 5 high schools
  • Among elementary schools, Jefferson improved the most: +13 (ELA) +12 (STEM) = +25 (Total)
  • Among middle schools, Dunbar improved the most: +9 (ELA) +7 (STEM) = +16 (Total)
  • Among high schools, Parkview improved the most: +12 (ELA) +4 (STEM) = +16 (Total)

The bad news:

  • Among elementary schools, Bale (by far) declined the most: -5 (ELA) -7 (STEM) = -12 (Total)
  • Despite improvement at all high schools, out of 1,008 public schools in Arkansas:
    • Fair High School ranked in 969th in ELA and 1,000th in STEM.
    • McClellan High School ranked in 987th ELA and 995th in STEM.
    • Hall High School ranked 998th in ELA and 1,002nd in STEM.
    • Hall High School was also one of only 19 high schools in Arkansas with zero students meeting readiness in all four subject areas of the ACT

Wrap your head around that. Little Rock Hall High School - located in midtown, the zoned high school for much of West Little Rock, and the alma mater of many civic and business leaders of Little Rock - is among the lowest 1% academically performing schools in all of Arkansas. And that's AFTER it improved in both ELA (+1) and STEM (+2) last year.

Thankfully, Hall is now a School of Innovation, led by Dr. Mark Roberts, a proven, dynamic new principal. According to LRSD.org, "Roberts’ educational background includes more than 20 years of principal experience in urban school districts. He most recently served as principal of Aurora Central High School, Aurora, Colorado – a school with a diverse student population of more than 2,200."

Still, the fact that the district and community let the school degenerate into such a sad state is criminal. It's not as if those in authority were unaware. West Little Rock parents, whose residences were zoned for pre-STEM Academy Forest Heights and Hall, were screaming about the schools' academic performance as far back as 2011. No less than the Arkansas Times reported on the decline of Hall in 2006, when John Bacon (now CEO of eStem Public Charter Schools) was the new principal and today's seniors were in Kindergarten.

So, the next time you are tempted to believe that all that ails the district would be cured by "local control," consider Hall High School.

Meanwhile, while the freshmen at Fair and McClellan will graduate from a shiny, new, state-of-the-art Little Rock Southwest High School in 2020, what of their and their upper classmates' academics over the next 2.75 years?

Nine LRSD elementary schools experienced combined double-digit improvement last year. The outlier was Bale, which had a combined double-digit drop, losing 5 points in ELA and 7 in STEM.

Still, with progress being made on multiple fronts, questions abound.

When the district is just below the state's average in improvement, how can it ever catch up to its inauspicious performance averages?

Is it too much to expect each LRSD school to meet/exceed the state's averages?

Is it too much to expect each LRSD school to meet/exceed Central Arkansas's averages, which are 2 (ELA) and 1 (STEM) points lower than the state's.

Is it too much to expect each LRSD school to meet/exceed the district's own averages, which are 12 (ELA) and 11 (STEM) points below the state's?

Is it too much to expect each LRSD school to meet/exceed Southeast Arkansas's averages, which are 13 points below the state's averages in both ELA and STEM?

The window is closing on the State's control of the Little Rock School District. Generations of students were failed before the State's intervention, and too many have been/are being failed since.

May we all find the urgency and will to immediately implement intensive intervention to save - not our schools - but our students.

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Facts Must Illuminate, Not Obfuscate

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It was first reported on this blog that the Little Rock School District was one of twelve districts/charters in Arkansas improving on the ACT Aspire in every grade.

That is still true.

Unfortunately, like the old game of telephone, it is now been repeated to the point that it sometimes morphs into "The Little Rock School District is one of only twelve districts in the state improving on the ACT Aspire."

That is not true.

In fact, 206 of the 258 districts and charters in Arkansas cumulatively improved on the ACT Aspire. Among those, LRSD ranked 109th in overall improvement.

Also, at a recent LRSD event, it was shared that the district had the highest ACT scores of any district in Pulaski County.

In regard to eleventh graders' summative exam, that is not true.

District  Reading  English  Math  Science 
 Jacksonville/North Pulaski  17.0  16.6  17.0  17.2
 Little Rock  17.9  17.4  17.8  17.9
 North Little Rock  17.3  16.4  17.3  17.4
 Pulaski County  18.8  18.0  17.9  18.4
 Arkansas Average  18.8  18.3  18.4  18.9

 

Actually, four of the LRSD's five high schools declined in readiness on all four subjects of the ACT.

Schools  Reading  English  Math  Science  2015-16
Ready All 4 Subjects 
2016-17
Ready All 4 Subjects 
Growth/
Decline
 
 Central  20.6  20.4  19.9  20.1  22.3%  26.8%  +4.5
 Fair  15.3  13.9  15.9  15.1  1.7%  .7%  -1
 Hall  14.1  13.3  15.2  14.2  1.5%  0%  -1.5
 McClellan  14.2  13.7  15.6  15.8  .7%  .7%  0
 Parkview  19.0  18.6  18.0  18.8  15.5%  9.2%  -6.3
 Arkansas Average  18.8  18.3  18.4  18.9  12.7%  13.6%  +.9

 

Clearly, the district's highest performing students have been Balkanized into Central and to a lesser extent at Parkview, which dropped 6.3 points in 2016-17, the greatest decline in the county. The percentage of students meeting readiness benchmarks in all four subjects declined in three of five LRSD high schools, while McClellan's .7% remained the same.

Most egregiously, Hall High School had zero students meeting the readiness benchmark in all four subjects. That only occurred in 19 of Arkansas's 291 high schools.

Here's how the rest of the public high schools performed in Pulaski County.

Reading  English  Math  Science  2015-16
Ready All 4 Subjects
2016-17
Ready All 4 Subjects
Growth/
Decline
Jacksonville  17.0  16.6  17.0  17.2  3.1%  6%  +2.9
Maumelle  19.7  19.0  18.4  19.0  14.4%  16%  +1.6
Mills  17.3  16.5  17.1  17.0  8.3%  10.3%  +2
North Little Rock  17.3  16.4  17.3  17.4  8.9%  9.1%  +.2
Robinson  18.6  17.1  17.2  18.3  3.2%  8.5%  +5.3
Sylvan Hills  18.8  18.2  18.2  18.7  5.9%  11.9%  +6
eStem Charter  20.0  19.9  19.2  20.1  13.8%  22.5%  +8.7%
Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter  18.5  17.1  17.1  17.9  NA  9.1%  NA
LISA Charter  18.7  17.8  18.8  18.1  16.4%  22.9%  +6.5
LISA North Charter  21.2  22.1  19.8  19.2  22.7%  21.7%  -1
Maumelle Charter  19.9  20.3  18.8  20.0  6.9%  12.8%  +5.9
Premier Charter  13.8  13.2  15.5  14.8  0%  3.6%  -3.6
SIA Tech Charter  N<10  N<10  N<10  N<10  <10 NA  0%  NA
Arkansas Average  18.8  18.3  18.4  18.9  12.7%  13.6%  +.9

 

Every public high school in Pulaski County - traditional and charter - outperformed three of five LRSD high schools. And seven of twelve outperformed four of five LRSD high schools.

Facts must illuminate, not obfuscate.

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Who's Really "Destroying" the Little Rock School District?

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Sunday, September 17, 2017

The next time anyone says or writes that charters are responsible for "destroying" the Little Rock School District, counter with this (not that the truth has ever mattered).

It had long been obvious to those who form opinions and make decisions based on data where the Little Rock School District was losing and gaining students:

In the last years of local control:

  • Biggest Loss: Between 5th and 6th Grades (-327, -16.5%)
  • Biggest Gain: Between 8th and 9th Grades (+340, +21.6%)
  • Second Biggest Loss: Between 10th and 11th Grades (-244, -13.5%)
  • Third Biggest Loss: Between 11th and 12th Grades (-180, -11.5%)
  • Fourth Biggest Loss: Between 9th and 10th Grades (-216, -11.4%)

However, those numbers and percentages have shifted under state control. Last year:

  • Exodus between 5th and 6th grades dropped to -185 (-10.2%)
  • Biggest Gain: Between 8th and 9th Grades (+286, +19%)
  • Biggest Loss: Between 9th and 10th Grades (-393, 21%)
  • Second Biggest Loss: Between 5th and 6th Grades (-185, -10.2%)
  • Third Biggest Loss: Between 10th and 11th Grades (-159, -10.5%)
  • Fourth Biggest Loss: Between 11th and 12th Grades (-123, -8.9%)

In 2005-06, there was only a 28-student exodus between fifth and sixth grades. In 2015-16, the loss had swelled to -368, -19.2% of the class' enrollment. Since the opening of Pinnacle View Middle School's sixth (2016-17) and seventh grades (2017-18), however, the loss has dropped to -185, -10.2% enrollment. With the addition of eighth grade in 2017-18, that number and percentage will drop even further.

Students and families continue to return to the district for high school in greater numbers than left for middle school. In 2016-17, there was a 355-student, 22.6% increase in the class. Unfortunately, those gains were more than lost in 2017-18 - between 9th and 10th - when 393 (21.5%) of the class left the district. The district continues to bleed students for the remainder of high school.

Grades 2004-05 2013-14 Grades 2014-15 +/- Grades 2015-16 +/- Grades 2016-17 +/- Grades  2017-18   +/-
                        K 1,882  
K 1,956 1 1,979 +23 (+1.2%)
K 2,062 1 1,991 -71 (-3.4%) 2 1,927 -64 (-3.2%)
K 2,055 1 2,052 -3 (-.15%) 2 1,934 -118 (-5.8%) 3 1,878 -56 (-2.9%)
K 2,018 2,220 1 2,202 -18 (-.8%) 2 2,172 -30 (-1.4%) 3 2,067 -105 (-4.8%) 4 2,040 -27 (-1.3%)
1 2,059 2,160 2 2,107 -53 (-2.4%) 3 2,043 -64 (-3%) 4 1,957 -86 (-4.2%) 5 1,914 -43 (-2.2%)
2 1,997 1,996 3 1,947 -49 (-2.5%) 4 1,910 -37 (-1.9%) 5 1,809 -101 (-5.3%) 6 1,624 -185 (-10.2%)
3 1,901 1,900 4 1,867 -33 (-1.7%) 5 1,856 -11 (-.59%) 6 1,584 -272 (-14.7%) 7 1,525 -59 (-3.7%)
4 1,890 1,974 5 1,921 -53 (-2.7%) 6 1,553 -368 (-19.2%) 7 1,533 -20 (-1.3%) 8 1,467 -66 (-4.3%)
5 1,949 1,836 6 1,509 -327 (-16.5%) 7 1,490 -19 (-1.3%) 8 1,468 -22 (-1.5%) 9 1,754 +286 (+19%)

TOTAL Elem.

11,814 12,086 12,099 12,095 11,714      
6 1,835 1,636 7 1,604 -32 (-2%) 8 1,568 -36 (-2.2%) 9 1,903 +355 (+22.6%) 10 1,510 -393 (-21%)
7 1,822 1,672 8 1,614 -58 (-3.5%) 9 1,763 +149 (+9.2%) 10 1,582 -181 (-10.3%) 11 1,423  -159 (-10%)
8 1,881 1,576 9 1,916 +340 (+21.6%) 10 1,694 -222 (-11.6%) 11 1,538 -156 (-9.2%) 12 1,415 -123 (-8.9%)
TOTAL MS 5,538 4,884 4,727 4,611 4,585      
9 2,324 1,899 10 1,683 -216 (-11.4%) 11 1,531 -152 (-9%) 12 1,437 -94 (-6.1%)      
10 1,827 1,802 11 1,558 -244 (-13.5%) 12 1,470 -88 (-5.6%)      
11 1,561 1,560 12 1,380 -180 (-11.5%)      
12 1,360 1,445      
TOTAL HS 7,072 6,706 6,537 6,458 6,460      
TOTAL 24,484 23,676 23,363 23,164 22,759      


Source: https://adedata.arkansas.gov/statewide/Districts/EnrollmentByGrade.aspx

And where are students going? For those quick to blame charters, the district lost more students to "other schools" (i.e. other districts, private) in 2003-04 - when no charters existed in the footprint - than any subsequent year.

Quick observations:

  • Lowest Loss of Students to Other Schools - 347 (2015-16; First Year of State Control)
  • Loss of Students to Other Schools Was Four Times Higher in 2003-04 than 2015-16
  • Loss of Students for Other Reasons (See * Below) in 2015-16 Exceeded 13-Year Average of 410
Other Schools Private Home Out-of-State Early Graduates GED Other Total
2003-04 1,452 NA NA NA 58 77 554 2,141
2004-05 1,237 NA NA NA 82 36 561 1,916
2005-06 1,092 NA NA NA NA 141 385 1,618
2006-07 1,237 NA NA NA NA 154 118 1,509
2007-08 1,059 NA NA NA NA 140 494 1,693
2008-09 983 11 50 NA 87 29 226 1,386
2009-10 371 26 19 82 109 23 222 852
2010-11 337 20 27 151 95 26 618 1,274
2011-12 371 7 26 154 128 17 558 1,261
2012-13 476 23 33 171 14 14 338 1,069
2013-14 516 31 26 185 10 12 458 1,238
2014-15 508 24 26 193 16 8 342 1,117
2015-16 329 5 13 127 0 3 464 941
2016-17 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
TOTAL 9,968 147 220 1,063 599 680 5,338 18,015


*Other (Includes Incarcerated, Deceased, Failing Grade, Suspended/Expelled, Lack of Interest, Conflict with School, Economic Hardships, Pregnancy/Marriage, Peer Conflict, Alcohol/Drugs, Health Problems, Other)

Source: https://adedata.arkansas.gov/statewide/Districts/DropsWithdrawalsByReason.aspx

If the district and its alleged champions are truly interested in stemming enrollment losses, it/they will correct its chronic middle school deficiencies and stop the "Other" losses in high school.

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In Three of Five LRSD High Schools, Over 90% of Students Fail to Meet Readiness in Math, Science

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, August 28, 2017

How do we know many Little Rock School District's elementary schools are failing its middle schools, and many middle schools are failing its high schools? One need only compare percentages of students meeting the readiness benchmark on the ACT Aspire to state and district averages.

All LRSD high schools which were in Academic Distress when the state intervened scored in single digits in Math and Science, meaning over 90% of students did not meet the readiness benchmark.

The following are the percentages of students meeting the readiness benchmark on the ACT Aspire exam. Priority Schools are required to submit 45-day reports, which include percentage of students entering a school's grades two or more grades behind in elementary and three or more grades behind in middle and high schools.

School/District  Math  English  Writing Reading  Science  Enter 3/More
Grades Behind Math
 
Enter 3/More
Grades Behind
English Language Arts
 
Arkansas              
 Ninth Grade  30%  58%  39%  51%  32%    
 Tenth Grade  25%  60%  36%  57%  33%    
LRSD              
 Ninth Grade  22%  43%  39%  37%  20%    
 Tenth Grade  18%  49%  30%  46%  23%    
Fair**              
 Ninth Grade

 8%

 26%  15%  19%  6%
 95%  76%
 Tenth Grade  1%
 33%  13%  34%  5%
 97%  67%
Hall* **              
 Ninth Grade  5%
 19%  10%  13%  4%
 92%  86%
 Tenth Grade  3%
 23%  12%  14%  4%
 90%  71%
McClellan**              
 Ninth Grade  8%
 22%  14%  21%  8%
 78%  75%
 Tenth Grade

 5%

 23%  14%  28%

 9%

 75%  79%


* Academic Distress (Three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient)
** Priority School (Lowest 5% Academic Performing in Arkansas)

Even though Fair, Hall and McClellan's scores were among the state's lowest in Math and Science, scores increased exponentially over the previous year. And yet, at current rates, it could take as long as 5 - 27 years for grades to meet the state's average proficiency in Science, and 6 - 13 years in Math. Because of flat or decreasing percentages, some grades will never meet the state's average.

Fair  Math Gain  Science Gain 

At Current Rate,
Years to Catch
State Avg. Math

 At Current Rate,
Years to Catch
State Avg. ELA
 Ninth Grade  +3 (+62.5%)  +3 (+100%)  8 Years  9 Years
 Tenth Grade  -3 (-75%)  +1 (25%)  Never  27 Years
Hall        
 Ninth Grade  +2 (+60%)  0  13 Years  Never
 Tenth Grade  +2 (+200%)  +3 (+300%)  11 Years  10 Years
McClellan        
 Ninth Grade  +4 (+100%)  +3 (+62.5%)  6 Years  8 Years
 Tenth Grade  0  +5 (+125%)  Never  5 Years

 

School/District Math English Writing Reading Science Enter 3/More
Grades Behind Math
 
Enter 3/More
Grades Behind
English Language Arts
Arkansas    
 Sixth Grade  62%  74%  47%  59%  49%    
 Seventh Grade  48%  79%  39%  38%  44%    
 Eighth Grade  44%  73%  49%  38%  42%    
LRSD    
 Sixth Grade  47%  61%  34%  52%  31%    
 Seventh Grade  34%  65%  29%  33%  31%    
 Eighth Grade  29%  61%  41%  27%  30%    
Cloverdale* **    
 Sixth Grade  22%  44%  20%  47%  15%  67%  61%
 Seventh Grade  19%  48%  15%  23%  19%  65%  63%
 Eighth Grade  8%  41%  20%  14%  13%  63%  65%
Henderson* **    
 Sixth Grade  27%  47%  19%  40%  15%  77%  43%
 Seventh Grade  17%  59%  15%  16%  18%  79%  35%
 Eighth Grade  10%  53%  35%  16%  11%  78%  29%
Mabelvale* **    
 Sixth Grade  44%  49%  20%  39%  12%  69%  33%
 Seventh Grade  22%  53%  14%  22%  13%  72%  52%
 Eighth Grade  19%  51%  33%  20%  16%  77%  52%

 

* Academic Distress (Three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient)
** Priority School (Lowest 5% Academic Performing in Arkansas)

School/District  Math  English Reading  Writing  Science   Enter 2/More
Grades Behind Math
 
Enter 2/More
Grades Behind
English Language Arts
 
Arkansas  47%  70%  41%  42%  40%    
LRSD  37%  59%  29%  32%  35%    
Bale***  23%  41%  12%  6%  10%    
Baseline**              
 Second            14.8%  
 Third            31.2%  13%
 Fourth            31.2%  23%
 Fifth            44.1%  26%
Chicot***  29%  46%  18%  20%  16%    
King***  39%  53%  24%  14%  22%    
Pulaski Heights***  66%  78%  52%  49%  57%    
Rockefeller***  31%  53%  21%  15%  22%    
Romine***  27%  45%  16%  17%  20%    
Stephens***  28%  49%  18%  14%  16%    
Wakefield***  42%  51%  19%  35%  19%    
Washington***  30%  44%  15%  16%  15%    
Watson***  21%  43%  14%  17%  12%    
Western Hills***  40%  64%  21%  22%  21%    

** Priority School (Lowest 5% Academic Performing in Arkansas)
*** Focus Schools (Lowest 6-10% Academic Performing in Arkansas)

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Myth of Lost Resources: LRSD Revenue Explodes as Enrollment Declines

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Thursday, August 24, 2017

Okay all you Baker-believing, charter-hating, anti-millage extension-voting, Little Rock School District is under attack conspiracy theorists. Explain this...

  Resident Enrollment Choice Enrollment Total Enrollment  Total Revenue  Per Student Revenue 
2004-05  24,345  79  24,424  $264,535,474  $10,831
2005-06  25,023 (+678)  72  25,095 (-671)  $278,876,942  $11,113
2006-07  25,456 (+433)  44  25,500 (+405)  $288,308,186  $11,306
2007-08  25,689 (+233)  49  25,738 (+238)  $298,347,163  $11,592
2008-09  24,100 (-1,589)  560  24,660 (-1,078)  $304,448,203  $12,346
2009-10  22,811 (-1,289)  1,569  24,380 (-280)  $310,712,083  $12,745
2010-11  22,386 (-425)  1,840  24,226 (-154)  $334,133,328  $13,792
2011-12  22,149 (-237)  1,900  24,049 (-177)  $348,859,027  $14,506
2012-13  21,781 (-368)  1,813  23,594 (-455)  $336,438,239  $14,259
2013-14  21,950 (+169)  1,725  23,676 (+82)  $328,037,159  $13,855
2014-15  23,182 (+1,232)  181  23,363 (-313)  $319,394,316  $13,671
2015-16  22,989 (-193)  175  23,164 (-199)  $340,157,355  $14,685
2016-17  22,567 (-422)  192  22,759 (-405)  $341,044,180
 $14,985
2017-18  22,317 (-250)  21  22,338 (-421)  $351,033,566*
 $15,715
13-Year Gain/Decline  -2,028 (-8.3%)  +113 (+143%)  -2,086 (-8.5%)  +$86,498,092 (+33%)  +$4,884 (+45%)
Avg Annual Gain/Decline   -156 (-0.6%)  +9 (+8.7%)  -160 (-0.7%)

 +$6,653,699 (+2.5%)

 +$376 (+3.5%)

* Projected

If I had a mic, I would drop it.

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In Poore's First Year, LRSD Improves in Every Grade for Only Second Time in Thirteen Years

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, August 19, 2017

In Michael Poore's first year as superintendent, the Little Rock School District was one of only twelve school districts and one charter in the entire state to improve cumulative ACT Aspire scores in each grade.

Under Poore's academic leadership, the district also improved individually in both Math and English Language Arts for each grade. That has happened only once in the past thirteen years - in 2008-09 under then-Superintendent Linda Watson.

In Mr. Poore's first year, the district also beat the state average gains in math in four of eight grades and tied once. It beat the state average in English Language Arts in four of eight grades.

What follows are the past thirteen years' results by grade on the summative exams (2004-2013 State Benchmark, 2015-17 ACT Aspire) for Math and English Language Arts, as well as the biggest single year gains per grade. Numbers indicate percentages proficient (Benchmark) or meeting readiness benchmark (ACT Aspire). While the State Benchmark exam was not nationally normed, the ACT Aspire is, thus the discrepancy in scores.

For one year (2014-15), the State administered the PARCC exam, so the scores the year before and after are incomparable.

  3rd    4th   5th   6th   7th   8th    9th    10th   
Roy Brooks Math  ELA  Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA
 2004-05  42  39  37  41  28  37  27  46  30  40  19  46        
 2005-06  51  44  47  48  37  43  39  44  37  45  31  57        
 2006-07  62  50  50  46  45  45  46  38  37  45  29  55        
Linda Watson                                
 2007-08  65  49  61  55  52  50  52  45  39  43  27  55        
 2008-09  67  52  65  57  54  55  63  47  50  48  42  57        
 2009-10  71  58  68  67  62  62  60  57  55  53  43  63        
Watson/Holmes                                
 2010-11  70  62  70  71  65  69  59  56  56  53  42  62        
Morris Holmes                                
 2011-12  73  70  68  77  60  78  57  58  58  66  47  66        
Holmes/Burton                                
 2012-13  76  70  71  76  54  75  50  52  52  62  44  66        
Dexter Suggs                                
 2013-14  74  64  66  75  59  74  55  50  50  59  46  63        
 2014-15 (PARCC)                                
Baker Kurrus                                
 2015-16 (ACT Aspire)  48  33  42  34  38  41  39  40  29  39  24  38  19  36  16  36
Michael Poore                                
 2016-17 (ACT Aspire)  51  34  47  40  41  46  47  48  34  43  29  45  22  37  18  41

Greatest One-Year Gains (Since 2005-06)

  3rd   4th    5th    6th    7th   8th   9th   10th   
  Math ELA  Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA  Math ELA  Math ELA
2005-06 (Brooks)          +9    +12        +12  +11        
2006-07 (Brooks)  +11  +8                            
2007-08 (Watson)      +11                          
2008-09 (Watson)                  +11              
2009-10 (Watson)        +10        +10                
2010-11 (Holmes)            +9        +13            
2016-17 (Poore)  +3  +1  +5  +6  +3  +5  +8  +8  +5  +4  +5  +7  +3  +1  +2  +5
2016-17 AR Avg. Gain  +2  +3  +1  +8  +4  +4  +7  +5  +5  +6  +6  +5  +2  +4  +3  +4

Sources:

Benchmark
http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-schools-data-benchmark-examinations

ACT Aspire
http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-school-data-act-aspire

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