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MCAS 2005:  The Year of Hurricane Karina

Lawrence Superintendent of Schools Wilfredo Laboy

Hurricane Karina took Massachusetts by storm when she blew away the competition.  Karina Ovalles, a student at Lawrence High School, scored perfect 280’s on both the 10th Grade English Language Arts and Math MCAS tests.  That’s right, perfect scores on both tests!  No doubt she is a force to be reckoned with.  In true Lawrencian style, not wanting her to feel lonely at the top, nine other Lawrence students decided to join her by each earning a perfect score on their MCAS exam. Van Le scored 280 on the 10th Grade Math MCAS. 

Five 3rd grade students scored 40 out of 40 questions correct on the 3rd Grade Reading MCAS test. Three of these students, Daniel Calderin, Timothy Mooneyhan, and Edgar Santana, attended the South Lawrence East Elementary School, while the other two students, Luis Cruz and Carmen Darrach, were students of the Wetherbee School.  Camilla Moreno, of the Parthum School, and Nicholas Massari, of the Leahy School, scored perfect scores of 280 on the 4th Grade ELA MCAS test and 4th Grade Math MCAS test, respectively.  While nine is fine, ten is better. Nolan Dinero, of the Guilmette School, rounded out the pack when he earned his perfect score on the 5th Grade Science MCAS test. 

All of these students and their parents were recently recognized for their accomplishments at the October 27, 2005 School Committee meeting where they were greeted with a standing ovation.  In attendance at this meeting were Asst. Commissioner Juliane Dow, Supt. Eugene Thayer, Supt. Matt George, and Lynda Foisy of the Massachusetts Department of Education Partnership Team.  The DOE team took turns presenting an award to each of the students.  According to the Chairman of the School Committee, Mayor Michael J. Sullivan, “The DOE team was truly impressed by the number of students that received perfect scores on MCAS.  These students are a reflection of the good work that is being done throughout our district everyday.  I am so proud of these students and excited about the wonderful futures they have before them.  It is the hard work and determination of these children coupled with the support and encouragement of their parents that we are celebrating here.” 

In fact, the stories of Karina Ovalles and Van Le are even more outstanding when one digs a little deeper.  These young ladies are both twins, Karina and Cristina Ovalles and Van and Tu Le, an amazing coincidence, right?  Well, you may want to sit down now because it gets better, all four of these girls scored Advanced on the 10th Grade ELA and Math MCAS tests in 2005. 

These four young ladies are responsible for earning three perfect 280’s, four extremely close-to-perfect 276’s and a very respectable 264.  Actually, the Le twins have scored in the Advanced category on every MCAS test they have taken, dating back to 2001 while attending the South Lawrence East School.  Tu Le scored two perfect 280’s on her 8th Grade Math and Science MCAS tests in 2003, Van scored 280 on the Science test too, of course.  The Ovalles twins have also scored Proficient or Advanced on every MCAS test they have taken since 2001 while attending the Arlington School.  The sky’s the limit for these superstar twins!

If what Aristotle said is true, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,” then it follows that Lawrence Public Schools employs many very happy teachers!

In general, more students in Lawrence Public Schools passed both the English Language Arts and the Math MCAS tests in 2005.  In ELA, the district went from an average percent passing of 71.75% in 2004 to 72.25% in 2005.  In math, the average went from 44.75% of students passing in 2004 to 48% passing in 2005.   The greatest individual grade level gain was seen in 6th grade math where 44% of the students passed in 2005 as compared to 37% in 2004.

Emerging Trends in English Language Arts

* Grade 3 students are demonstrating a significant improvement (up12%) in their ability to correctly answer open response type questions.  In 2004, they answered 37% of the open response questions correctly.  In 2005, they answered 49% correctly.
* The percent of Students with Disabilities earning passing scores increased significantly in grades 4 and 7. The percent of Students with Disabilities that passed the Grade 4 ELA MCAS test increased from 37% in 2004 to 45% in 2005 and in grade 7 the percent increased from 51% in 2004 to 56% in 2005.
* The percent of Regular Education students that earned a Proficient or Advanced score increased from 46% in 2004 to 50% in 2005 in grade 7, and in grade 10 the percent increased from 28% in 2004 to 36% in 2005.
* In grade 7, the percent of English Language Learners earning a passing score on the ELA MCAS test increased from 40% in 2004 to 49% in 2005.
* Significant gains were made by grade 7 students in their ability to use standard conventions correctly in their writing compositions.  The score went from 71% correct in 2004 to 78% correct in 2005.

Emerging Trends in Mathematics

* The percent of students earning Proficient or Advanced scores increased in grades 6, 8, and 10.  Furthermore, Lawrence High School doubled their percent of students scoring in the Advanced range, doubling from 5% to 10%.

* The percent of English Language Learners earning passing scores increased significantly in grades 6 and 10.  Grade 6 showed a rate of improvement of 50% from 2004 to 2005 and 29% for grade 10 from 2004 to 2005.  Also, the percent of English Language Learners earning a Proficient or Advanced score on the Grade 10 ELA MCAS test increased from 2% in 2004 to 10% in 2005.

* The percent of Students with Disabilities earning passing scores increased in grades 8 and 10.  The most significant gains were made in Grade 10 where 12% more of Students with Disabilities earned a passing score.

* The greatest gains were made in questions relating to Patterns, Relations, and Algebra.  At the elementary and middle school levels, students increased from an average of 40% correct to 47% correct.

Emerging Trends in High School Competency Determination

* More students in the Class of 2007 earned MCAS competency determination by passing both ELA and Math on their first attempt (46%) than any previous year.  

Wilfredo Laboy is the Superintendent of schools in Lawrence you can email him at wlaboy@lawrence.k12.ma.us

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The December Edition of the Valley Patriot
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