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Eastbrook ISTEP scores dip

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

Eastbrook Community Schools' ISTEP scores fell this year, although the school corporation's results were still stronger across-the-board than other Grant County public schools.

Corporation-wide, the passing rate for English Language Arts (ELA) fell slightly from 66.9 percent to 65.7 percent and the passing rate for math fell from 58.3 percent to 55.8 percent. The percentage of students who passed both ELA and math fell from 52 percent to 48.6 percent.

These dips coincide with a decrease in passing rates across the state. In grades 3-8, for example, the average number of Indiana students passing both ELA and math fell from 51.5 percent to 50.7 percent.

Across Grant County, though, Eastbrook continues to outperform other corporations. Eastbrook's percentage of students who passed both ELA and math is higher than the other four public schools and only Oak Hill had a higher overall ELA score with 66.3 percent compared to Eastbrook's 65.7 percent.

Superintendent Brett Garrett said although he preferred not to spend too much time comparing scores with the other Grant County schools, he is proud of his school's results.

“(We have) a culture that promotes high achievement and personal accountability and high expectations,” he said.

The school's tenth grade results also fell but stayed above state averages for both math and ELA. 59.8 percent of students passed ELA, just above the state's 59 percent average, 45.9 percent passed math, compared to 36 percent across Indiana, and 42.1 percent passed both, down from 47.6 percent last year but still above the state's 34 percent average and well above Mississinewa, Madison-Grant and Marion, who all saw results in the 20s.

Garrett was unsure why the school's scores had dipped this year. He said the corporation will spend time analyzing the scores and looking for possible “gaps” in the curriculum and ways the school can improve.

But Garrett also said tests are just one day out of the year and are somewhat limited in what they show.

“I'm more concerned with what happens the other 177 (school) days,” Garrett said.

At a school board meeting Monday, longtime board member Steve Greene announced his upcoming resignation from the school board. Greene said he is taking a new job that requires him to work evening hours and won't allow him to continue to serve the school corporation.

Greene said next board meeting, Oct. 22, will be his last after 10 years on the board.

The board will need to appoint a board member to fill his position, since his term will not expire for another two years. Greene serves as the Washington Township representative so any candidates for the board position will need to be residents of that township.

Once Greene's resignation is effective, Garrett said the school will advertise for the position and give a chance for interested residents to apply. Then, the school board will hold public interviews and vote to choose an appointee who will serve about two years on the board.

Board president Greg Brankle said Greene was always a “quiet voice of reason” on the board.

Garrett also presented the school's official student count Monday, which was lower than Garrett initially reported in a Sept. 20 Chronicle-Tribune article but still higher than 2017's total. Eastbrook's student population this year is 1,619, up eight students from 2017 and part of a long-term trend of population growth for the school.