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Coal City schools achieve Illinois’ highest ranking

Five schools in District 1 receive ‘Exemplary’ status

COAL CITY – It was made aware to the Coal City District 1 board at its Wednesday meeting that schools in the district are among the best in the state.

According to a press release from Coal City Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg, the Illinois State Board of Education released the 2018 Illinois School Report Cards.

This year’s version implements a new process for rating school performance across the state. In the past, school ratings were based on whether students met or failed to meet a designated benchmark on standardized testing.

This year, the process relied on a variety of student variables, which weighs heavily on how student performance on standardized testing improves from year to year.

The change in the state’s school rating system was instituted as a way to give low-performing schools credit if they can show their students are improving in a meaningful way.

Under this new designation system, schools in Illinois fall into one of four categories: Exemplary, Commendable, Underperforming and Lowest Performing.

To achieve the “Exemplary” designation, schools must fall within the top 10 percent of schools statewide.

To be considered “Exemplary,” none of a school’s subgroups, including those with special needs, racial
and ethnic groups, or students from low-income families can be underperforming.

This year in Illinois, only 67 high schools, 47 middle schools and 257 elementary schools made the top 10 percent and thus earned the Exemplary rating.

The following schools achieved the highest state ranking of Exemplary: Coal City Early Childhood Center, Coal City Elementary School, Coal City Intermediate School and Coal City Middle School

Grundy County has 15 elementary schools, four of which earned Exemplary status – and all four are from Coal City District 1.

There are four middle schools in Grundy County and Coal City Middle School was the only one to achieve Exemplary status.

Coal City High School earned the Commendable ranking, which means the school had no underperforming student demographic groups but did not meet the cap for the top 10 percent of schools statewide. No high schools in Grundy County achieved the state’s Exemplary ranking.

“These state rankings are a testament to the vision of our Board of Education and the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, administration, and of course, our amazing students,” Bugg said. “Our school district has long been dedicated to the goal of continuous improvement, and this recognition for our schools shows that our commitment is paying off in the educational opportunities we offer our students.

“These rankings also show the support and commitment our community shows to our school system. I could not be more proud of our District No. 1 school community.”

In other action at the meeting, Bugg updated the board on the school safety plan. There was a survey sent out to parents in the school district and they have been returned.

“There were a variety of topics parents were concerned about, such as how to deal with a student’s stress and anxiety and how to develop study skills,” Bugg said. “We have taken those surveys and developed a parent education plan, which we hope to implement in the second semester.”

In other business at the board meeting, members approved the high school student educational club travel trip to Panama, the school site’s donation from Grundy County, the budget calendar and an agreement with American Capital Finance Services for an equipment lease.

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