9 area schools join Four Star list

May 30th, 2017

By Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

So, it turns out nearly a dozen Fort Wayne-area schools have made the grade or, to use Indiana Department of Education lingo, earned their stars.

State education officials Friday released an expanded list of schools it rates Four Star, based on the 2015-16 academic year.

Two weeks ago, the state released a list of 41 Four Star schools statewide. The only Allen County school was Cedarville Elementary, which is part of East Allen County Schools. Saint Bernard Elementary in Wabash also made the list.

But Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said last week in a weekly update that several concerns “from the field” were raised about the limited number of schools recognized based on a change in award criteria.

For the 2014-15 year, the state recognized nearly 300 schools – 22 in northeast Indiana – as Four Star.

A second list covering the 2015-16 year released Friday kept Cedarville and Saint Bernard elementaries but added these area schools:  

  • Croninger Elementary School in Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Carroll High School and Maple Creek Middle School in Northwest Allen County Schools
  • Homestead Senior High School in Southwest Allen County Schools. 
  • Leo Elementary, also in East Allen
  • Northwest Elementary School in Huntington
  • Blackhawk Christian Middle/High School
  • Bishop Dwenger High School
  • Concordia Lutheran High School

Indiana has been recognizing Four Star Schools for nearly 30 years.

To receive the designation, a school must receive an A on the states A-F accountability system, have excellent ISTEP pass rates, carry overall high graduation rates – if applicable – and show success in closing achievement gaps, the Education Department said in a statement Friday. Including the first round, 248 schools received the award. 

In a statement Friday afternoon, FWCS said: “We are proud of the entire Croninger community – the teachers, administrators, parents, and district support – who work together to provide high quality education for students.”

Homestead High School has about 2,300 students.

“Obviously we're pleased that we're on the list and good things are happening at Homestead High School,” Homestead Principal Park Ginder said. “It's something that we're proud of, however, it's not something we're going to hang our hat on.”

Ginder said it's not always fair or easy to measure schools against each other, based on the range of criteria that could be used.

Also, student demographics can vary widely among schools, including some not on the list.

“That doesn't mean they're not doing a good job,” Ginder said.