Peabody Schools Below State Averages on MCAS

Tanner City students cumulatively scored below state averages on the spring 2013 MCAS in ELA, math and science with a margin of 2-4 percentage points.

For the first time in recent memory, Peabody students' English Language Arts scores on the MCAS have also come in below the state average.

Results on the spring 2013 MCAS were recently released by the state, and at first glance, Peabody students have shown an overall decline in achieving proficient or higher scores in the three subject areas tested -- ELA, math and science/technology. (See 2012 results here)

ELA is down 3 points to 66 percent (the state average is 69 percent), math dropped by 2 points to 52 percent (the state average is 61 percent) and science by 4 points to 49 percent (the state average is 53 percent).

Likewise, Peabody students trailed state averages across all three subjects in the Needs Improvement category, but only were below average in the Warning/Failing category on math.

Superintendent Joe Mastrocola told School Committee members this week he and his staff were still pouring over the numbers and would have a detailed presentation in the coming weeks.

He did say packets would be sent out to parents by the end of the week.

Across the state, the average for ELA scores held steady, while math increased by 2 points and science/technology dipped 1 point from last year's scores. Students are tested on the MCAS between grades 3 and 10.

More detailed reporting on this year's MCAS scores to come.
Lisa September 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM
This is really sad, the Peabody school curriculum has gotten so watered down that so many kids are being pushed along without a real grasp on the fundamentals. We can't teach to the test we have to improve our standards in the curriculum. The less we expect of our kids the less they will achieve.
Greg September 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Kudos to the headline. It's about time we start reporting how bad our schools are in comparison to other communities. We will never fix our schools unless we're willing to admit that they are under performing. Now, let's see what the SC & Mr. Mastrocola comes up with to tackle this issue.
Kathleen September 27, 2013 at 02:07 PM
I agree Ken, but at this point there really aren't any more ways left to spin it. I believe last year's headline was "Peabody Schools See Slight Improvement on MCAS" followed by: "This year's MCAS results showed only marginal improvement for Tanner City students overall, and nearly all of it on the science and technology/engineering section, which is still below state average." Peabody schools have been languishing at the bottom of the barrel for years. Just go to the state website and see the results for the last 5 years and look where we are each year in the rankings. Despite all of the money that is being thrown into the budget, a new superintendent, new teachers, new curriculum specialists, etc. we are not seeing the improvements that we should be seeing. This city is too complacent and focused on mediocrity. I've said it before, we have top notch sports programs but the academics don't follow. It really is a shame. This is what you get when you become a 'Gateway City'...
Karl September 27, 2013 at 02:53 PM
It proves that continually throwing money at the problem doesn't work. There needs to be some parental accountability here also, not just the schools. Every parent I know that takes an interest in their kids' education has kids that are doing average or better, much better in most cases. But hey, things aren't all bad. After all, they are working to get a turf field installed up at the high school! Last I heard that would cost a cool million. That's progress...right?
Johnny D September 27, 2013 at 03:32 PM
This rating system is garbage. A city get's rated by the LOWEST SCORING SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT. Absurd. Peabody High has made huge strides the last few years and is, if I am not mistaken, a LEVEL 1 SCHOOL this year! Our kids are graduating from PVMHS and going to some of the best schools in the country. Should we really bash the entire school system because one of the elementary schools downtown did poorly on a standardized test? Give me a break. The patch is just pandering to the "we hate Peabody and all teachers" crowd.
John Castelluccio (Editor) September 27, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Johnny, that low-performing school is actually in West Peabody. Here's another story that addresses what you're referring to: http://peabody.patch.com/groups/schools/p/peabody-schools-maintain-level-3-rating-by-state. Interestingly, while PVMHS is at Level 1, 2013 MCAS scores were only slightly above average on ELA and slightly below on math and science.
Johnny D September 27, 2013 at 04:02 PM
I stand corrected about the location of the elementary school, but stand by the basis of by rant. Your comment about "Level 1" only supports my stance that this rating system is absolute garbage.
Johnny D September 27, 2013 at 04:10 PM
John, I can't help but notice the negative stance this blog has taken about Peabody Schools and, unfortunately, Peabody in general. Your negative (sometimes sensational) headlines: "Woman Says Needle and Crack Pipe Left in Front of Her House," "Camera Rolls As Peabody Man Climbs Into Home During Break-In Attempt," and now "Peabody Schools Maintain 'Low Performing' Level 3 Rating By State" may draw in a couple more readers, but are an inaccurate depiction of our great city. No wonder people don't want to live here...and our property values are so low, if they google "Peabody" this negative blog makes our city look like a dump.
John Castelluccio (Editor) September 27, 2013 at 04:19 PM
We don't take stances, we report the news, good and bad.
Greg September 27, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Johnny D, stop labeling people who want to see our schools do better as "people who hate Peabody or teachers". I'm a lifelong resident who loves this city and wants our schools to be doing MUCH better. While I applaud the high school for it's improvements, it still ranks in the bottom half of schools throughout the state. And many of our elementary schools score in the bottom 25% of schools throughout the state. Should we not be demanding better than this?
Johnny D September 27, 2013 at 05:13 PM
John, Then please explain why the headline did not read "PVMHS is a level one school!" Also, why pick the most negative entry in the police log as your headline??? There were many other entries you could have focused on, but you went with "crack pipe" in a shameless attempt to attract readers. Please don't insult my intelligence.
John Castelluccio (Editor) September 27, 2013 at 05:37 PM
It's the police log... Look at it this way, would you like it if a needle and crack pipe were left in front of your house? As for the other headline, as you can tell by reading the story, it's more about the district as a whole and the fact that it's the lowest performing school that determines the district's status. If, conversely, Peabody High's top status carried or bumped up the entire ranking, then that would be the story.
Kathleen September 27, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I agree with Johnny D. that the rating system is flawed. Rating a district based on the lowest performing school versus the highest doesn't make sense. They should be using some sort of average. However, what is clearly evident is that Peabody scores by school and district have been in the last quartile in the state rankings for years and have consistently been below state averages. Yes, the high school has made slight improvements but not enough to boost it out of the bottom rankings. This is unacceptable. Expecting a top notch school system doesn't mean you are a Peabody hater, it actually means the opposite; that you care about the city enough to want a first class school system for the children in it.
Saber Walsh September 28, 2013 at 09:57 AM
It seems that, whenever your kid comes home and flunks a test, there's an uproar that the test was unfair, the teacher didn't prepare them for it, it shouldn't have been that hard... And so it is with the headline: instead of using this as a call to action to REALLY address how we can restore Peabody's once lofty place amongst government schools we complain that the test was unfair, the teachers didn't prepare the kids for it, blah blah blah. Someone mentioned the Police Log. That is definitely a sign of the times. We focused on fixing Main Street but still have the hookah shop smack downtown. There is just so much to address, from teacher hiring and retention (and compensation), to the new "school choice" movement that has flooded schools, to extensive drug dealing and use in and around our high school (the "weed dealers" now park right up front because there's nobody in the parking lot to bother them). Whether the test was fair or not, the comparisons ARE because all students took the same test. I know for sure that there are some excellent, responsible teachers who are the heart and soul of those who made us old farts who we are. There are also political progressives who spend their class time telling stories that support Marxist values, bashing most religions (Catholics are not at all welcome in at least two high school classrooms), and telling their students to forget saying the Pledge of Allegiance because he has "rhetorically analyzed it, and in his opinion it's a statement of hate, war and oppression." But there's such good news. We have a new high school principal, some other new blood in our system. If we can just adjust our priorities from putting artificial turf on our fields and on ensuring every student can read, write, do math, and think for THEMSELVES, and wiping out the drug culture that is so wide open today that it's gotten bolder than ever, we will be on our way to fixing the problems.
mark September 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I love how the liberal editor who spews garbage about a West Peabody school being the worst while pushing the cause of multiculturalism garbage indicating the schools on the lousy side of Peabody are so wonderful!
Steve September 28, 2013 at 01:52 PM
All those years of paying extra to send my kid to Danvers schools paid off. He ended up getting a scholarship that covered most of the money we spent sending him to St John's Prep. He finished college and was immediately hired into a good paying job. None of that would have happened if he had attended Peabody schools. They have been bad for decades.
mark September 28, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I quit school in the 9th grade, started a couple of businesses making 100k per year, bought a townhome when I was 25. The only obstacle I've had from achieving real success in life has been Obama, Deval and the Democrats stealing and cheating me under the color and authority of their usurped tax laws!
Greg September 28, 2013 at 08:07 PM
So Mark are you advocating we just shut the high school down and make 9th grade the last grade for all Peabody students? While I applaud the work you've done without a HS diploma, I would bet your the exception. Education is the foundation for a successful life and as a community we should be jointly advocating for better performing schools.
Diane Durkee September 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM
If the so-called regular/normal child is not receiving what is needed for him/her to be an achiever; just imagine what the child with special needs is receiving. Parents, with children who have special needs, have to "fight" the Peabody School System every inch of the way and still their children are being left behind. This has not changed since my children were attending the Peabody Schools in the '70's and 80's.
mark September 28, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I don't advocate shutting down the high schools but you need to realize that the educational system is an extension of big government and they want your kids to fail to justify high taxes! They should be teaching job and life skills in the schools and not this socialism garbage. I learned more from google, YouTube and Wikipedia than I ever did in the public school system. They don't want to teach skills in high school because the government in collusion with banks want you and your kids to borrow 150k for college and indebt them cause its big business for them! Also I'm sad to say that your teachers unions run your school system and parents have no say!
mom September 29, 2013 at 09:27 AM
This has been a long standing problem. It is covered up by the SC with happy statements like 'we are doing better' 'This will help get us to a higher level' and my favorite 'overall we see improvement' Until you change out the entire sc with people who have the background in education you will get the same results. Peabody votes for their friends regardless of if they are any good at the post. And does anyone really think you should just graduated high school? No the plan is to graduate college, and until the SC understand that graduating college is harder than getting into college there will be no change in anything. It does a student no good to get into college and struggle to stay their because they were not prepared. And ye the educatio in peabody has been going down for the 16 years i have had kids in the system. I have watched many try to help stop the decline but in the end it is the SC that needs to do that and they only want to be 'friends' and have 'conversations' Its like Nero watching Rome burn!
Kathleen September 29, 2013 at 12:34 PM
I agree with mom, the problem lies with a school committee that is too complacent and the parents in Peabody who continually elect them. Think about it for a minute, we have people on our school committee who have been serving for close to 20 years! All the while the schools have continued to decline and all we ever get is excuses not solutions. New blood is needed. We've made a few strides with some new faces over the last few years but the majority of the school committee members have been serving too long. Many have gone from serving on the City Council to running for the SC and vice versa. We have a 'new' principal but he's actually not 'new' at all. He has been the assistant principal at the high school for years. I think promoting from within has actually damaged the school system more than helped it. Just my opinion. Sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone if you want real change. It seems like the majority of voters in Peabody aren't capable of doing that. The result is that we are now a Gateway city with a school system that is subpar. You only get ONE chance with your child's education. Many people have waited around hoping for the improvements that have been promised but many others have decided that they just can't wait any more. The result being that more and more people are opting for school choice in other districts or sacrificing financially to send their kids to private schools. It's amazing how many teachers and other city employees do not send their kids to the high school. That should be a wake up call to Peabody parents.


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