New report card gives insight to Somerset Co. Public Schools

SOMERSET COUNTY, Md. –  School Districts across the Eastern Shore are now sifting through Maryland’s brand new rating system, including Somerset County.

“Anytime you give greater criteria, you give greater opportunities to show strengths rather than one indicator,” explains Superintendent Dr. John Gaddis.

Maryland’s new public school rating system isn’t just about test scores, it’s a new way to measure success. And for Somerset County, it’s proving their students are right in line with others throughout the state despite their unique challenges.

“The fact that we can have the highest poverty setting in the state and our students can achieve means we’re removing that barrier.”

All of the schools in Somerset County received three and four star ratings. Ratings that Dr. Gaddis says prove their efforts across the board are working.

“I think overall we’re pleased because we’ve had a focus on early childhood, we’ve also had a focus on educating the whole child so when you look at the incentives we’ve done for attendance rates when you look at what we’ve done for graduation rates at the high school level, when you look at the intervention we put in with testing,” Gaddis continues, “Of course we want our testing scores to be higher, but when you have students that are coming to school you should be rewarded for that. Because school is not always a positive for some of our students and the fact that they’re coming and that they’re working with us is a positive. We were just happy really across the whole board.”

And while the county looks to hone in on their strengths, they’re also looking to focus on the areas that they hope to improve on, mathematics and literacy.

Need improvements that Greenwood Elementary School and others are already addressing.

Greenwood Principal Ashley Walters explains, “We have several data sources that we use. Local county benchmarks in addition to a new math assessment that are given three times a year to measure student growth and achievement. So certainly our area of focus is in reading and math and how we can continue to improve those scores.”

And with a new math curriculum already in the works, Somerset County is hoping their efforts will again be shown for next years results.

In the meantime, “We’re going to dig deep and really peel the onion as some would say and look at specifically what can we do to address some of these criteria. To make sure that we’re giving a true picture of what it is to be a well-rounded student in Somerset County,” explains Gaddis.

Gaddis adds that this new report card is a conversation starter and that he plans to take a look at other high poverty schools in the state to evaluate their scores and see if there are programs in place that could work in Somerset to raise ratings.

We’re told since this is a very extensive report, one that no one has navigated before, Somerset County is planning on holding informational meetings for parents and families.

Those meetings will be held at Crisfield and Washington High Schools, although the dates and times have not yet been finalized.

Categories: Check It Out, Education, Local News, Maryland