Achievement comes nine months after Roosevelt became a turnaround school
Crusader Staff Report
Gary’s storied Roosevelt College and Career Academy received a grade of “A” from the Indiana Department of Education Student-Centered School Accountability Grade System. The achievement came nine months after Roosevelt was designated an Innovation Network School, a three-year turnaround program that allows struggling schools to improve under a different set of standards until they get back on their feet.
Roosevelt received the top grade because it has shown improvement towards academic achievement in ways it had not seen in years. So far, it’s a step in the right direction for a school that was once on the brink of closure from years of failing grades and low academic achievement.
This is the first time in the school’s history that it has been graded “A,” and follows years of unsatisfactory ratings. Theodore Roosevelt’s accomplishment is especially significant since it was graded “D” in 2017. For six years, Roosevelt received an “F” grade. Outgoing Emergency Manager Dr. Peggy Hinckley once considered closing the school.
“These results are a testament to the commitment and hard work of the teachers, staff, and students at Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy,” said EdisonLearning President and CEO Thom Jackson. “They are also the result, in no small part, to the support provided by the Gary community and alumni of the school.”
EdisonLearning began managing Roosevelt several years ago when the state took over Roosevelt because of the school’s consecutive failing grades on Indiana’s accountability grading system.
In March 2017, EdisonLearning and the Gary Community School Corporation entered a contract that designated Roosevelt as an Innovation Network School. Under this designation, schools are held to the same academic standards on the grade accountability system. Their state grade is simply based on their percentage gains or growth in making some academic progress. Unlike non-Innovation Network Schools, students are not judged by their scores on state and Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.
But as an Innovation Network School, Roosevelt must show progress in attendance, graduation rates and a reduction in out-of school suspensions.
EdisonLearning officials say these standards give Innovation Network Schools or turnaround schools a fairer chance to improve.
After three years, Innovation Network Schools go back to being graded under the state’s regular academic standards.
Under the transformation/innovative reform model, schools are allowed autonomy to create charter-like innovations in order to improve overall school and student performance.
Also, as a transformation/innovative school, the key factor in Theodore Roosevelt’s rating grade is the focus on the growth in student achievement.
Jackson pointed out, “Indiana’s Student-Centered School Accountability Grade System for transformation schools now more fairly and accurately reflects the true progress in academic growth being achieved by the students. As a result, the students at Theodore Roosevelt, who may have been challenged in the past, are now being recognized for the progress they are making towards their personal educational goals.”
In its role as “transformation partners,” EdisonLearning has implemented major structural changes in the school’s academic program focused on improved student achievement, and has transformed the school’s overall learning environment. These positive changes have led to:
- 76% of graduating seniors enrolled in a 2-4 year college or vocational program.
- 54% reduction of out-of-school suspensions.
- 94.6% attendance rate.
The news is encouraging for Roosevelt students and alumni.
“ I’m very pleased that Roosevelt was able to get an A,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, an alumna of Roosevelt. “I know that they’ve been working very hard over there and you can’t take that away from them.”