Superintendent's Message, December 15, 2017

  • Dr. Cohn
    Dear friends and neighbors:
    At a school board meeting on December 5, Greg Lobdell of the Center for Educational Effectiveness lauded Garfield Elementary for its exemplary work to continuously improve student learning AND for being a School of Distinction for the third year in a row.

    In so doing, Mr. Lobdell pointed out, “Schools don’t improve in isolation; they are part of a system … dramatic improvement is occurring throughout the Everett system – improvement due to the work of staff in each school, their leadership, and those supporting them.” Credit for such success goes also to this community and our school families who support schools and help us boost learning for each student.

    Also in that meeting, almost like he was unwrapping a holiday gift, Mr. Lobdell peeled back some of the data layers about the state’s high performing schools. Under that wrapping was evidence of just how well this district and our school communities are doing as a system and how well we stack up compared to other schools in the state.

    Thirteen district schools this year are in the state’s top 50 percent of highly improving schools. Ultimately, just the top five percent earn a School of Distinction banner. However, our public can be very, very proud of how work in their schools is making a difference in student learning and how close so many of our schools came to that 5 percent mark.
    Of those 13 schools, Whittier Elementary and Jackson Elementary are in the top 10 percent.
    Forest View and Hawthorne are in the top 25 percent.
    North Middle School reached the top 10 percent in performance growth, and all five district middle schools are in the top half of the state’s highest improving schools. Yes – all five! That’s a credit to every one of those schools AND the elementary schools sending well-prepared students to middle school.
    Sequoia High and Everett High are in the top 10 percent this year. Sequoia was a School of Distinction last year and was within only 9 positions of being one this year.
    Everett High is in the top 10 percent this year, and Cascade High and Jackson High are in the top 40 percent of high performance growth schools.

    Also in December, the New York Times published an article entitled, “How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most.” A Stanford researcher studied some 300 million elementary-school test scores across more than 11,000 school districts in the nation.

    Rather than simply compare schools’ test scores year-by-year, the researcher measured how many years of academic gain students in each district earned from third to eighth grade between 2009 and 2015. In those years studied, Everett Public Schools students gained MORE than five years academically; they grew by almost six years! (5.9 years to be precise). In fact, our district’s performance rests in the 96th percentile; we outperform 95 percent of the districts in the country.

    At the end of the article is an interactive link. Type the name of any large school district in the nation into that link to see how other districts stack up to Everett Public Schools.

    We also learned in December Everett Public Schools is on the 2017 AP Honor Roll. This is the second time since 2011 we’ve been noted by the College Board as having increased the number of students taking Advanced Placement classes AND scoring a 3 or higher on the AP tests.

    And we continue to increase the number of students graduating in four and five years. Our districtwide four-year graduation rate rose two percent to 92.9 percent for 2017, and the five-year rate rose to 95.2 percent for 2016.

    Those of us in the Everett Public Schools community are proud of the results documented by research and honors such as mentioned above. We are also extremely grateful to and thankful for the organizations and people who support our schools and our communities’ children.
    Thank you for your support of and involvement with Everett Public Schools,
    Dr. Gary Cohn