Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Education

Cleve Hill board notes progress of Project Achieve


Project Achieve began to take shape in 2013, and the Cleveland Hill School District is beginning to see the fruits of its labor.

Data was presented at the Cleveland Hill School Board meeting last week about the success rates of student scores in grades three through eight. Daryl Janus, director of curriculum and assessment and chief information officer for the district, presented the information to the board members.

The New York State Education Department released the information recently, and Janus said this is the fifth consecutive year that all three schools — elementary, middle and high school — have been “in good standing.” Prior to that, the schools were in an “improvement status” twice in the last eight years, according to Janus.

At the meeting, Janus revealed a chart depicting the rise in the students’ rank in the region compared to other public schools.

“It’s six years later after Project Achieve, and, yes, it paid off,” Janus said. “Prior to Project Achieve ... overall, for ELA grades three through eight, we were in the lower half of Erie County. Now, we’re in the top quarter of percentile rank.”

He showed the jump in percentile rank to be 54.6 prior to instilling Project Achieve. Between 2013 and the 2017-18 school year, the rank jumped to 68.4.

Janus stated that 59 percent of Cleveland Hill students in grades three through eight receive free or reduced lunches, which he believes reflects the poverty level in each area. Cleveland Hill, Janus said, is ranked as the 25th school out of 28 in Erie County in terms of wealth.

The table Janus displayed for board members showed a strong negative correlation between the percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunches and the proficiency rate for a subject.

This means that as the percentage of students needing free or reduced lunches decrease, the proficiency rate for a subject increases.

This isn’t the case with Cleveland Hill, however.

The data shows that Cleveland Hill students outperformed other schools in the county, as the school is ranked 12th for English performance. Janus said this means the district had the highest positive jump in the county when comparing wealth and success rates.

“We’re a blue collar district. … We don’t take our time to toot our horn. We keep our head down and keep on plowing, and that’s how we are,” Janus said. “[Principal Patrick] McCabe has been ridiculously successful in the elementary school. ... What’s great and difficult with Mr. McCabe is he always wants more. There is no ‘neutral’ or ‘brake’ for him.”

Trustee Julie McNeil said the progress the district has made is something young parents consider.

“When people are making choices about where they buy houses and where they want to send their kids, they need to know what we’re doing in this building and what we’re achieving,” McNeil said.

Superintendent Jon MacSwan later said he’s confident this progress will translate up through the grade levels as students advance.

“We’re starting to populate that foundation up into the high school that you’ll start to see the district’s recognition for the same work,” MacSwan said. “It’s coming, and we built the foundation with Mr. McCabe. It’s been carried up through, and now, it’s being implemented throughout the high school.”

Documents detailing the information and data are available online.

The next board meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 105 Mapleview Road.

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