Less than half (three of eight) of Keizer’s elementary schools met state averages in language arts and math skills according to report cards issued by the Oregon Department of Education earlier this week. 

Only three elementary schools – Clear Lake, Gubser and the Optimum Learning Environment at Forest Ridge – met or exceeded Oregon averages in both categories. 

Clear Lake was the high-flyer among Keizer’s elementary schools with 71 percent of students meeting or exceeding language arts standards and 67 percent doing the same in math skills. State averages were 51 percent and 43 percent, respectively. 

Regular attendance was generally up across Keizer elementary schools in 2018-19. 

At the middle school level, both Claggett Creek (CCMS) and Whiteaker middle schools showed high levels of individual student progress. However, CCMS lags behind state averages in both language arts and math skills. 

McNary High School is a bright spot for the city despite being graded on different standards. Ninety-two percent of students were on track to graduate after their freshman year, and 92 percent also completed their diploma or earned a GED within five years. The Celtics also beat state averages in on-time graduation with 86 percent of students making the grade, the state average is 79 percent. 

Here’s a school-by-school look at scores and some of the relevant circumstances:

Clear Lake 

Clear Lake students showed high individual student progress in addition to soaring past state averages in language arts and math skills. Language arts skills improved by 5 percent over the previous year and math skills made an enormous 11 percent leap. The school’s teachers and administrators managed the feat with one of the largest average class sizes for an elementary school in Keizer (26.5 students) and it was in the top tier of Keizer schools as far as average daily attendance. Clear Lake has the second-lowest number of students on free or reduced lunch programs in Keizer. 

Cummings

Cummings fell below state averages in meeting language arts and math skill standards, 34 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Language arts performance improved by 1 percent over the prior year and math skill performance fell by 5 percent. Students did improve daily attendance by 3 percent last year. Overall individual student progress was rated average in its report card. Nearly 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch programs at Cummings.

 Forest Ridge

Forest Ridge suffered a precipitous 12 percent drop in language arts skills acquisition and increased math performance by 3 percent. Overall, 50 percent of students met or exceeded language arts skills, 38 percent met or exceeded math skills. Roughly 40 percent of Forest Ridge students qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

Gubser Elem.

Gubser students met state averages in language arts skills, 51 percent, and math skills, 43 percent. Both scores were down slightly from the previous year. The Gators increased regular attendance by 8 percent in the last school year and approximately half of students qualified for free or reduced lunch programs. Individual student progress was rated average for the school as a whole. 

Keizer Elem.

Keizer students missed state averages in both language arts (34 percent) and math (24 percent). The school is saddled with the largest student enrollment among Keizer’s elementary schools (728 students), more than 95 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. Still, individual student progress was average throughout the school. Keizer was second only to Weddle Elementary School in teacher turnover, 20 percent. 

Kennedy Elem. 

Kennedy student missed state averages in language arts (42 percent) and math (28 percent), but language arts jumped 6 percent from the prior year and overall individual student progress was rated high. Regular attendance among students climbed 5 percent over the year prior. More than 95 percent of Kennedy students qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

Optimum Learning Environment (OLE) Charter School at Forest Ridge

Students in Keizer’s charter school-within-a-school exceeded state averages in language arts (63 percent) and math (50 percent), but both numbers were down from the prior year. Regular attendance was a staggering 91 percent among the 129 student enrolled. However, individual student progress was rated low. About a quarter of students at OLE qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

Weddle Elem.

Both language arts acquisition and math skills fell from the prior year at Weddle. The number of students meeting grade-level language arts goals fell 9 percent to 17 percent over the prior school year. Just 10 percent of students met grade-level math standards, a fall of 3 percent from the previous year. Overall individual student progress was rated low. More than 95 percent of Weddle students qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. 

Whiteaker Middle School 

Whiteaker students beat state averages in both language arts and math. Almost 60 percent of the Wolverines met grade-level language arts expectations, the state average is 54 percent. In math, 47 percent met grade-level standards, the state average is 39 percent. Approximately 44 percent of Whiteaker students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Individual student progress was rated high. 

Claggett Creek Middle School 

At Claggett Creek, language arts skills fell short of state averages (41 percent) as did math acquisition (30 percent). However, individual student progress was rated high across the student body. More than 95 percent of students at CCMS qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. 

Other notes

Earlier this year, Keizertimes reported on reading struggles at McNary High School. At the time, school administrators had discovered 45 percent of McNary freshmen tested below grade-level reading skills. The report cards released by state officials appears to support those earlier numbers and show that the struggles generally span the entire city and do not arise from a single school. 

Minority students in Keizer are also unlikely to see themselves reflected in the education profession in the city. At McNary, roughly 45 percent of the student body identify as a minority but 94 percent of teachers are white. At Weddle Elementary, 70 percent of students identify as a minority and only 24 percent of teachers claimed minority status.