Bremen schools get 'A' from DoE

BREMEN — “We have worked long and hard to earn that,” said Bremen school superintendent Russ Mikel Monday, of the school’s exemplary rating from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

This is the first year that Bremen schools have received an A.

The state’s rating system is based on Public Law 221, an accountability system for grades K-12.
Schools are placed in one of five categories: A (exemplary progress), B (commendable progress), C (academic progress), D (academic watch), or F (academic probation).

The categories are determined by student’s ISTEP scores in math and English, improvement in passing students ISTEP scores in a three-year period, and the school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status.

Mikel said that Bremen teachers have used an eight-step process for the past two years to improve student’s performance.

Part of the process is giving students a short test in math and language arts every three weeks to determine if they are meeting the state standards for the particular time of year. Using the results of the test, students are placed in either accelerated activities or remedial activities.

Mikel said that teachers are changing as they go to help the students learn rather than waiting until the end of the year to change their methods.

“That’s making the difference,” said Mikel. “The teachers have worked very hard.”

Bremen is one of 775 Indiana schools to receive the ‘A’ grade for 2011. More than 50 percent of Indiana’s schools have received the two highest letter grades, A or B.

The AYP scores are also important in the passing out of letter grades, as schools who have not made AYP for two consecutive years can not receive any higher than a C even if their test scores are enough to earn a higher rating.

Mikel said that Bremen schools plan to continue their successful eight-step process of learning, and hope to implement the process in science and social studies as well.