Two Hingham schools were among the 64 statewide that were commended for the MCAS performance of their students last year.
The commendations, given by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, were given to William Foster Elementary School and Hingham High School,
While schools have been recognized in the past for MCAS scores, this year there was a new set of criteria, which include a progress performance index that factors in Race to the Top waivers, and school growth.
The Science section of the MCAS scores was also included, and the data covered four years of statistics rather than two.
The new criteria were based on the new achievement goal for schools, which has shifted from the earlier goal of having 100 percent of students at proficient levels in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System by 2014.
Schools can be recognized for doing one of three things – demonstrating high achievement, making strong progress, or narrowing proficiency gaps.
According to Jonathan Considine, director of education for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Hingham High School ranked within the top 10 percent of schools in the same grade span on the progress performance index, demonstrating improvement in English and math tests, and demonstrated improvement with all students in a four-year period.
Meanwhile, Foster narrowed proficiency gaps, ranking also within the top 10 percent of schools in the same grade span, demonstrating improvement in English and math tests, and demonstrating improvement within a four-year span for students in the high needs group.
Both schools received a certificate and an achievement letter for the recognition.
“There were only 64 schools across the state to get this, and we have two of them,” said Superintendent Dorothy Galo. “We would love to hear more about these criteria, but we’re always pleased for our teachers and kids to be recognized.”
Foster Principal Debbie Stellar said she was delighted that the staff and students were being recognized for their success.
As for MCAS scores, "our school is performing at higher than 86 of those in the state," she said.
Hingham High Principal Paula Girouard-McCann said the commendation was a pleasant surprise.
“You’re always pleasantly surprised, but I knew our schools were very good. Everyone passed. We had several years when everyone passed in English, but this year every 10th grader passed in math and science. Students in the needs-improvement category was in the single digits,” she said.
McCann said she had high hopes for future years and MCAS scores, especially as the teachers are continually working to perfect the curriculum in every grade.
“The curriculum gets better and better, they work harder at it. The teachers make sure what they do reflects the standard....It’s a high bar; let's hope we can make it again,” she said.
In the South Shore, other schools on the list include Braintree’s East Middle School, Duxbury’s Alden School, Hull High School, Marshfield’s Eames Way and Martinson Elementary Schools, Milton’s Collicot and Glover schools, Quincy’s Beachwood Knoll Elementary, and Scituate’s Cushing Elementary School.
To see a full list of schools, click table 2 under this chart.