For Immediate Release - September 23, 2013


School exits Level 4 or “Underperforming” status as a result of year over year improvement among students

FALL RIVER – Monday, September 23, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of Education Matthew Malone today visited Matthew J. Kuss Middle School in Fall River to celebrate the school’s rapid gains in student achievement. Over the past three years, students at the school have made significant progress on the MCAS exams, allowing the school to exit Level 4 or “underperforming”  status this year, the school will now be designated as a Level 1 school.  

"The Kuss Middle School is a tangible example of the success we're are seeing statewide as a result of the Achievement Gap Act and a renewed sense of commitment from our teachers, administrators and staff,” said Governor Patrick. "I commend the Kuss Middle School on its most recent success, and continue to hope for a bright future for our schools that are still struggling to reach these results."

"I am excited to visit the schools that are exiting level 4, underperforming, status," said Secretary Malone. "These schools give us great insight into what works to turnaround a school that needs additional support. I leave refreshed and inspired by the teachers and staff who are doing the most important and difficult work in America today."

Based on this year’s MCAS results, 14 out of 34 schools designated as "underperforming" or Level 4 in 2010 will exit that status after meeting their three-year turnaround goals. The state's landmark Achievement Gap Act of 2010 provided the necessary framework and tools in the state's most persistently low performing schools to support the accelerated improvement of student achievement and a high-functioning learning environment for students within three years. Level 4 schools are both low performing on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) over a four-year period and not showing signs of substantial improvement over that time. Schools designated as Level 4 must develop a turnaround plan for the school and are eligible to receive federal School Redesign Grant funds.

The 14 schools, including the Kuss Middle School, named underperforming in 2010 that are now exiting Level 4 have successfully met their individual measurable, annual goals over the past three years by increasing student achievement and showing significant progress in implementing conditions at the school and district level for continuing to accelerate improvement.

Kuss Middle School has made significant gains in 8th grade math, in particular.  From 2007 to 2013, the percentage of 8th grade students scoring proficient or advanced on MCAS math has increased 36 points to 58%.  Equally as impressive are 6th grade math scores. In 2007, just 20% of students scored proficient or advanced in math. That number has increased 32 points to 52%.

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