August 20, 2014 - Oxford Community Schools is now officially "out of the red" and into the yellow, according to the Michigan Department of Education's Accountability Scorecard released last week.
"This is the state's second year of this model of scoring and we made quite a few improvements," said Chief Academic Officer Dr. James Schwarz.
The scoring is based on a color scheme that includes green, lime, yellow, orange and red. Colors are determined by points accumulated. If goals are met, that's 2 points. If there's improvement, that's 1 point. If the goals aren't met, that's a zero.
Schools that earn 85 percent or more of the potential points are assigned a green color. To get lime green, they have to earn 70 to 84 percent of their points; yellow, 60 to 69 percent; orange, 50 to 59 percent; and red, below 50 percent.
Scorecards are largely based on MEAP and MME test scores.
"The district went from red. which is the lowest color, to yellow this year, so we've (gone up) two colors on the color scheme," Schwarz added. the color scheme," Schwarz added. "That, in large part was due to increases towards greater proficiency in subcategories."
Schwarz said the district "made gains in" subcategories include the "bottom 30 percent" of students, Asian and Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners and students with disabilities.
"Because we've increased proficiency with those subgroups, ultimately, it affected our color and raised our color," he said.
Brandon, Clarkston and Lake Orion all received overall yellow ratings as well.
Schwarz noted Oxford also saw some of the individual schools move up the color chart.
"Bridges alternative education high school, they were red last year and moved up to orange," he said. "Then, we had Oxford High School, Leonard Elementary and Daniel Axford – (they) all moved from yellow last year to lime this year, so they moved up in their color scheme (too).
Overall Schwarz said school officials are "pleased" with the results.
"The extra support we put in place for our English Language Learners, our school-of-choice students at the high school and our Asian students coming from China (is) starting to make a difference," he said. "So, we are starting to see the fruits of our efforts with those interventions."
When asked how Oxford compares to other districts in Oakland County, Schwarz couldn't provide an answer.
"I don't have that data yet," he said. "The county hasn't come out with theirs yet, or at least they haven't sent it to us. I'm sure it's coming, but we just haven't gotten it."
In the top to bottom rankings, Oxford ranged in percentage from 50-82 (see chart), while Brandon scored 40-70, Clarktson 59-92 and Lake Orion 69-98.
Schwarz said school with low scores of 40's to 50's are typically districts with alternative education schools, such as Oxford, and he thinks it's "unfortunate that the state holds that spectrum of students (to) the same level of expectations they do everybody else."
"Because you're an alternative school, you're dealing with more high-risk kids, more behavior issues, and home life domestic issues," he added. "You're dealing with a lot more than that, but the state gives you no difference in expectations than any other school that you have, so typically you see those schools at the bottom end of those scales."
As they did last year, Schwarz noted the district will continue to increase its level of interventions from elementary school through high school.
"We're putting in more interventions this fall to further address student needs at that end of the ability continuum," he said. "We're hopeful these scores can continue to be impacted by our increased efforts."
For more information about the scorecards visit www.Michigan.gov/mde or www.mischooldata.org
Oxford Community Schools state ranking
Oxford Yellow, 63 out of possible 94 points
Top to Bottom rankings, by percentage:
82, Oxford Elementary
78, Daniel Axford Elementary
76, Clear Lake Elementary
73, Oxford Middle School
73, Oxford High School
65, Leonard Elementary
57, Oxford Virtual Academy
50 Lakeville Elementary
Brandon -Yellow, 57/88 points
Clarkston - Yellow, 63/104 points
Lake Orion - Yellow, 78/112 points
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.