The latest round of MCAS scores and state assessments show the Chelsea Public Schools are heading in the right direction, but there is still work to do, according to Superintendent Mary Bourque.
“We’re very pleased in most places, if not just about across the board,” said Bourque. “We’ve seen some really good, strong results. We still have some areas to work on, but we’re never done working as a school district to improve.”
The latest MCAS results show that scores in Chelsea are going up and students are showing growth, although the scores are still below the overall state averages.
In English and Language Arts (ELA) testing, students are largely meeting state goals for growth, meaning the students are showing improvement in the test results from one year to the next.
“The average student growth percentile is 50 percent,” said Assistant Superintendent Sarah Kent. “In two grades, we are above that, in two grades we are equal, and in two we are very close.”
The growth numbers are also improving in math scores, although not quite as dramatically as in the ELA area.
“In fifth grade, there continues to be a dip in achievement as kids go to the middle school,” said Kent. She said the district is continuing to work on that area.
“It takes a lot of time and curriculum work up through the grades as well as at the high school” to see the continued improvements on the MCAS scores, Kent said.
While the MCAS results focus on just one admittedly important test, the results from the state District Accountability measurements use a broader brush to paint a picture of an improving school district.
District Accountability takes into account such factors as achievement, growth, high school completion rates, English learning proficiency, attendance, and other factors.
“In Massachusetts this year, there are seven different titles that can be assigned, depending on how you do,” said Kent.
For 2019, Chelsea Public Schools earned the “substantial progress towards targets” rating. That rating is the third highest of the seven possible ratings, and the highest level achieved by any of the state’s 25 urban school districts, according to Kent.
“Take a look at Chelsea and be very proud of the work that went into this,” said Bourque.
In 2019, Kent noted that Chelsea rated higher in District Accountability than the neighboring districts of Malden, Revere, Winthrop, and Everett.
“In 2018, we were nine points behind the highest district, and in 2019 we are seven points ahead of the next district,” said Kent.
Bourque said the growth shown in both MCAS and District Accountability are the results of nearly a decade of hard work in the district.
“We definitely have deep, transformational change taking place, and it takes a long time,” said the superintendent. “It takes, eight, nine, 10 years before you see those huge cultural and deep shifts.”