7 area schools receive 4-star honor

Seven area schools were chosen as Four Star Schools by the state for their high scores in math and English portions of the ISTEP exam last school year.

Out of the 281 schools selected this year, three elementary schools, one middle school and three high schools in or near Johnson County received honors.

All schools that were awarded Four Star status had to be in the top 25th percentile of ISTEP scores from both parts of the exam in 2013-14, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Education. The Four Star Schools have to pass ISTEP in the top 25th percentile in each grade level, not just in a school average. The schools also have to have an A grade and be accredited by the state.

Union Elementary School, Center Grove Elementary School, Westwood Elementary School, Clark-Pleasant Middle School, Greenwood Community High School, Center Grove High School and Roncalli High School were all honored this year.

This is the first time Westwood Elementary School earned the honor since 2011. Since the school dropped off the list in 2012, Westwood principal Lisa Harkness has made it her mission to get scores up so the school could once again get that recognition, she said.

Out of her 19 years as Westwood’s principal, the school has received the Four Star School honor 17 times.

“It means a lot to us. We really worked hard the last couple of years to get that back,” Harkness said.

“We probably did a better job of digging deep into our data and looking for root causes. Once we were able to see those, we could turn some things around.”

Westwood students have traditionally performed high in math, Harkness said, but more attention was put on language arts skills. Students sometimes struggled with reading questions where they had to provide their answer from the required literary text, especially in non-fiction pieces, so teachers tried to re-enforce that skill, Harkness said.

Clark-Pleasant Middle School, Center Grove Elementary School, Center Grove High School, Greenwood Community High School and Roncalli High School received the award at least three years in a row. For Union Elementary, it’s the school’s second year in a row.

Last year, 11 local schools were recognized as a Four Star school. Maple Grove Elementary, Sugar Grove Elementary, Break-O-Day Elementary, Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School and Center Grove Middle School Central were not on the list this year after being listed as Four Star schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

At a glance

Seven local schools received Four Star School status from the Indiana Department of Education for the 2013-2014 school year. These schools had to be in the top 25th percentile of ISTEP scores throughout the state.

  • Center Grove Elementary School
  • Center Grove High School
  • Clark-Pleasant Middle School
  • Greenwood Community High School
  • Roncalli High School
  • Union Elementary School
  • Westwood Elementary School