Gardner STEM Receives Beating the Odds Award

Gardner STEM Receives Beating the Odds Award
Posted on 12/05/2018
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Gardner STEM Magnet School and Hot Springs World Class High School have received Beating the Odds Awards for Math Growth at the elementary and high school levels from the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas.  Both of these schools are being honored by OEP because students demonstrated high growth in scores on the ACT Aspire in mathematics. Awards are based on the 2018 content growth score calculated by the Arkansas Department of Education. These growth scores reflect how much students at the school improved from 2017 compared to how much they were expected to grow considering prior achievement.  


The OEP focuses on student growth for Beating the Odds awards as a better reflection than proficiency rates of how schools are impacting students. Growth is calculated at the student level, and essentially reflects how much a student improved his or her score from the prior year compared to what was predicted based on prior achievement history. Proficiency rates, even those that move beyond the ‘percent proficient’ like the OEP GPA and Arkansas’ weighted achievement score, are more correlated with student demographics than growth scores. This means that schools can demonstrate high student growth regardless of the characteristics of the students that they serve.


“Growing opportunities for the success of our students is a primary focus for us in all efforts, and we are pleased to see this reflected by growth of our students,” says  Hot Springs World Class High School Principal Taryn Echols. “Growth in test scores means that the improvements to our curriculum, enriched staff collaboration, individualized learning initiatives, commitment to expanded career academies, and other changes our staff team is implementing to sustain a world-class educational experience in this district are paying off. I couldn't be more proud of our students and staff.”


“Our team takes a unified, dedicated approach to doing everything that we can to empower and enable our students. Growth in test scores is a great sign that we are prioritizing the right initiatives to ensure that the educational foundation for our elementary students is strong,” says Gardner STEM Magnet School Principal Utana Newborn. “If they don’t master the essential skills in math, literacy, and science during their formative years, many students struggle throughout their education. Thank you to the hard work of our students and staff, and let’s keep on growing.”

Find the full OEP Report, here. See statewide schools honored with OEP Awards, here. Learn more about our Hot Springs World Class High School, here. Learn more about our Gardner STEM Magnet School, here.

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