"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" opens the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens offers a fitting open for Parents Care's trend analysis of Lake Bluff School District 65's academic performance.
Both charts below track the percentage of students performing at grade-level proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math from 2015 through 2022. All data derives from the Illinois State Board of Education Data Library and Illinois Report Card.
The Lake Bluff Middle School and the Lake Bluff Elementary School both show significant declines in English immediately after school closures.
However, the Elementary School's scores emerge from school closures with a sharp uptick in English in 2022 and at least a one-year 2021 uptick in math. The Middle School, on the other hand, has seen only steady declines in proficiency scores in English and Math since schools reopened.
While it's not quite yet "the best of times" at Lake Bluff Elementary, we see positive signs. Parents Care volunteers from Lake Bluff will be inquiring with school leadership over the next few weeks to identify what they think is working and their plans for continued growth. We'll report back.
It's "the worst of times" at Lake Bluff Middle School, where scores are in free fall and just 37.9% of the students are academically proficient in English and 41% in math. Let those scores sink in for a second. They are truly devastating. Perhaps most troubling is that District's communications in recent months have failed to communicate this as an emergency.
We know this difficult information to hear for a community accustomed to its school district consistently producing 70th-percentile proficiencies as recently as five years ago.
On the surface, everything looks the same as it was. But as Dickens wrote in Great Expectations, "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence." The evidence from the Middle School calls for emergency response.
These schools can have brighter days ahead, but it may only happen if you and the community demand it to happen.
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