Academic Excellence 2020

Celebrating Academic Excellence

Happy New Year!

I am proud to share our recent School Index Scores.  Michigan’s School Index System was developed to comply with federally mandated school accountability measures. Key performance indicators include student proficiency in math and language arts, student growth in math and language arts, on-track attendance, graduation rate, assessment participation, advanced coursework, postsecondary enrollment and access to art, physical education and a librarian. 

Saugatuck High School was recently recognized in the Holland Sentinel as the top high school in the area, while DES had the second highest average elementary school score among area school districts.

School Index Scores in our district continue to be excellent, with an overall index score of 94.03 at DES, 90.05 at SMS, and 97.37 at SHS.  School Index Scores range between 0 and 100. I invite you to explore the details behind these scores and other measures of school quality on the Parent Dashboard for School Transparency.

While the overall quality of a school system can often be difficult to quantify, I recently found a national database that analyzed roughly 350,000,000 standardized math and language arts tests to make an apples to apples comparison of student learning in grades three through eight across the country.  The data was compiled by the Stanford Education Data Archive and can be explored using the Educational Opportunity Project Explorer Tool

In short, Saugatuck Public Schools provides higher than average educational opportunity for our students and continues to trend upward.  Of great significance, are the exceptionally high learning rates achieved by our students.  According to the data base, SPS students in grades 3-8 learn 29% more in each grade than the U.S. average.  As you will see by using the tool, this is among some of the highest learning rates in the entire United States.

(In this snapshot, dark green represents learning rates much above the national average, while dark blue represents learning rates much below the national average.)

According to the Educational Opportunity Project, “Learning rates measure how much students’ scores improve each year while they are in school.  This is a better way to assess what children learn in schools than average test scores, which are heavily influenced by factors outside of school.”

I encourage you to celebrate the extraordinary learning happening at Saugatuck Public Schools by taking a moment to send a note of thanks to a teacher, administrator or member of our support staff.  Excellent teachers and support staff make for excellent learning.

I also encourage you to praise your son or daughter for their effort to learn in many different ways.  At Saugatuck Public Schools we believe in developing a growth mindset in our students.  According to Dr. Carol Dweck, “A growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” A growth mind set encourages learning from first attempts that may be unsuccessful.  A growth mindset believes in the power of “….yet”.

Thanks for all you do to support our schools and to foster a love of learning in your child.