BHE, YMS, HAPS get growth awards

HOPE – Students at three campuses of the Hope Public Schools were among top schools in ACT Aspire academic growth in statewide and regional comparisons, particularly in English Language Arts, the Office for Education Policy of the University of Arkansas announced Oct. 22.    

Beryl Henry Elementary School, Yerger Middle School, and Hope Academy of Public Service students showed greater academic growth by comparison on the 2019 administration of the ACT Aspire for grades three through 10 in reading, writing and English under the umbrella of English Language Arts.

“We are very proud of the efforts made by the students, parents, teachers and staffs of these campuses,” Hope Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bobby Hart said. “This recognition is proof positive of our believe that we can and are making differences in the lives and academic progress of our students.”

Beryl Henry Elementary and Yerger Middle School were No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, among all middle schools in Arkansas in ELA growth.

BHE was the top school in the upper elementary school category in Arkansas and in the Southwest Region in ELA growth with a score of 85.97, as well as third in the Southwest Region in overall growth for the test as a whole, with an overall content growth score of 82.27.

BHE Principal Dr. Roy Turner credited his campus community when informed of the result.

“I couldn’t help but reflect on the dedication of our staff, students, parents and community members,” Dr. Turner said. “Each individual played an essential role in improving students’ educational outcomes. At BHE, we believe in TEAM, ‘Together Everyone Achieves More;’ and, our focus will always be on giving every child… every chance… every day.”

YMS was third among middle schools in Arkansas in ELA content growth with a score of 84.68, and second among middle schools in the Southwest Region in overall ACT Aspire growth with a score of 82.28.

“I am very proud of the efforts of the Yerger Middle School students and faculty,” YMS Principal Mike Radebaugh said. “All of them did an amazing job.”

HAPS scored fifth among middle schools in the Southwest Region in ELA content growth with a score of 82.06.

“Staff and students work hard daily to ensure that innovative teaching and learning are aimed toward student mastery of essential standards,” HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke said. “While this data point may be seen as a snapshot of a moment in time during the school year, it indicates that student academic success is increasing at HAPS.

“I am so proud of the efforts of every student, staff member and our parents and families for all the dedication they have to academic excellence,” Dr. Duke said.

OEP Executive Director Dr. Sarah McKenzie explained the criteria for the awards.

“Awards are based on the 2019 content growth score calculated by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education,” Dr. McKenzie said. “These growth scores reflect how much students at the school improved from 2018 compared to how much they were expected to grow considering prior achievement.”

The OEP uses student growth rates as the focus for the awards as a better reflection of education success at each campus as opposed to proficiency rates.

“Proficiency rates, even those that move beyond the ‘percent proficient’ like our OEP GPA and Arkansas’ weighted achievement score, are more correlated with student demographics than growth scores,” the OEP website states. “This means that school can demonstrate high student growth rates regardless of the characteristics of the students that they serve.”