Accountability ratings released for County schools

Dr. Jarrod Burns

DECATUR COUNTY — Accountability ratings for Hoosier schools were recently released by the Indiana Department of Education.

North Decatur Jr./Sr. High School received a “meets expectations” rating and North Decatur Elementary School also received a “meets expectations” rating.

South Decatur Jr./Sr. High School received a “meets expectations” rating and South Decatur Elementary School received an “approaches expectations” rating.

“It is what it is,” Decatur County Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Burns said. “I know we’re doing amazing things.”

Burns also said educators are working hard at each of the buildings.

“The teachers are amazing,” Burns said. “They fight for every kid every single day. I couldn’t be happier with my principals. It’s [Decatur County Community Schools] an amazing place to be.”

According to the IDOE, due to differences between federal and state accountability requirements, for the second year Indiana schools will be assessed under two accountability systems. In an effort to provide more clarity and move away from the issuance of two grades, however, the US Department of Education approved IDOE’s amendment to Indiana’s ESSA plan allowing for schools to receive federal accountability ratings in lieu of federal accountability grades.

As the purpose of the federal accountability system is to provide actionable data that is accessible and aligned to long-term policy goals for student achievement, this change will also allow for a better understanding of the system as a tool to more accurately measure achievement and provide motivated progress towards success, as opposed to it simply becoming a punitive mark, the IDOE indicated.

According to the report, more than 56 percent of high schools and 53 percent of elementary and middle schools received a rating of “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations.”

“I am proud of the work Indiana schools are doing to academically prepare our children for life beyond high school,” State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick said. “To better serve schools for future successes; however, it is important we develop a single modernized state-legislated accountability system that is fair, accurate and transparent. Our kids, schools, teachers and parents deserve it.”

The IDOE is also reminding Hoosiers that due to the recent request by Superintendent McCormick and the Indiana General Assembly to pass a hold harmless on 2018-2019 State Accountably Grades, the State Board of Education has adopted a resolution withholding any vote to release state accountability grades until the General Assembly has officially taken action in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

The county schools’ superintendent also lauded educators across the district for always putting students first.

“All I ask people to do is to give everything for the students,” Burns said. “That’s one thing I’ve never had to worry about at all four buildings. That first day back from Christmas break people hit the ground running. I could not be more proud of our staff. They give everything they have for the students.”

With the school district having a graduation rate north of 90 percent, Burns said it’s evident they’re doing something right.

“If we’re sending that many kids across the stage at graduation, we’re doing something right,” Burns said. “Here’s the thing, you can look at any rating, but the goal of a school corporation is to hopefully have those students walk across the stage after 13 years with a diploma and the skills they need to be successful after high school, and I think we do that better than anybody.”

This is the second of a two-part story. The first story focused on Greensburg Community School Corporation.

Joshua Heath can be contacted at 812-663-3111 ext. 217401 or at

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