In December of 2014, after a battle that pitted two schools against each other for the right to be taken over by the Achievement School District, Neely’s Bend Middle School was chosen and handed over to the LEAD charter school network — to be taken over grade-by-grade, starting with 5th grade in the 2015-16 school year.
Supporters of Neely’s Bend, including many parents (who started a support group known as Neely’s Bend United), suggested that the school belonged to the community and that it was making progress and just needed more time to demonstrate it.
In fact, Neely’s Bend had posted modest gains in Math and Reading in 2014 and a pretty impressive level of growth in Science. Now, the results from 2014-15 are out and they show a school that while still struggling, is making real progress according to the state’s growth metrics.
Here are the numbers:
Neely’s Bend Middle School Growth Rate by Subject
Math 0.8 8.9
Reading 2.7 -5.0
Science 5.7 8.7
By way of comparison, the average growth rate in MNPS was 2.8 in Math, -1.4 in Reading, and 1.0 in Science.
Neely’s Bend is showing a growth rate well above the district average and has posted consecutive years of growth in both Math and Science, with some pretty solid numbers in Science over the past two years.
While reading is an area of concern, both MNPS and the state showed a decline in reading in 2014-15. Additionally, it’s possible that Neely’s Bend is suffering from the same slowed growth as other middle schools in reading, as evidenced by a newly released study on TVAAS scores.
The Achievement School District handed Neely’s Bend over to LEAD because the school was supposedly so low-performing it needed a remake in order to start showing growth. Except it looks like Neely’s Bend is showing growth already.
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