Crichfield, Riley earn ‘A’


Crichfield and Riley earned an “A” rating for the 2017-2018 school year, as was announced by the Indiana Department of Education–IDOE–last week.

Elementary and middle schools across the state earn grades based on data from test scores, growth, and participation in standardized tests. High schools also add in data for college and career readiness and graduation rates. All of these factors are components of the final grade.

For Crichfield principal Donna Biggs, she has watched as tests and expectations have been repeatedly changed by the IDOE. The fluctuation has not tripped up the Crichfield community, with the Cougars earning their 7th “A” under Biggs’ leadership. Their focus though has only and always ever been on the students.

I’m proud of my school because in this ever-changing world of education, we remain constant in our approach. We keep the bar high, recognize that each student’s learning path is different, follow the standards and keep kids at the forefront of our decision making,” Biggs said.

As for Riley, they are getting back to their “A” rating after the endless work of the Riley staff, students, and families. A few points here and there can make the difference between letter grades, and Riley principal Chris Alber saw his school just miss the “A” the last couple years. It was not, however, the “A” that mattered as much to Alber as what it meant about the students’ achievement.

“We worked very hard to get back to our ‘A’ status.  We were very close the last two years and set a SMART goal as a staff to increase our growth and performance scores. The ‘A’ grade is a wonderful honor, but the true gift is seeing all of our students grow academically,” Alber said.

The success at Crichfield is definitely a team effort. Regardless of the role, everyone in the Crichfield family plays a vital part.

“I am so proud to teach at Crichfield Elementary. I am proud of our amazing students and dedicated and hardworking staff. Everyone contributes to our school’s grade. It’s an honor to be a part of the Crichfield family,” Alice Tallackson, Crichfield teacher, said.

The Riley staff works to find ways to push each child to succeed no matter where he or she starts. Not every child is on the same level, so it is important to discover what each child needs to be successful.

“Our staff has always worked hard to differentiate learning so every child can learn and grow.  We are so proud of our accomplishment,” Riley teacher Tammy Pinkerton said.

As great as it is for schools to earn an “A,” there is no packaged way for success. It takes constant innovation and a dedication to growth.

“Each year is different. Each class is different. We look for the strengths in our students and capitalize on that. We are always looking outside the box for new and different ways to reach our learners. As good as we are, we can always get better. That’s what each new year brings, an opportunity for improvement,” Biggs said.

Alber finds the same to be true over at Riley. This honor was not the making of a few weeks of hard work preparing for a test.

“I’m very proud of the grit and determination the students and staff at Riley have demonstrated to increase our growth scores every year. We instill a growth mindset for students to challenge themselves to grow academically and increase their self-confidence. Our growth scores have increased three consecutive years and that is a testament to the teaching and learning at Riley,” Alber said.

To see how other LPCSC schools fared, click here.

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