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Four schools in Rock Island County’s 10 school districts have received exemplary status, the highest possible ranking, on the Illinois Report Card for 2018.

The 2017-2018 report cards, now available, include ratings for districts’ educational and financial health. School designations are based on 10 measures of performance, including academic metrics and school quality and student success areas.

The data can be viewed online at illinoisreportcard.com.

Receiving the top ratings in Rock Island County were Rockridge and Sherrard high schools and Riverdale and Hampton elementary schools.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, schools achieving that rank are performing in the top 10 percent of schools statewide. Exemplary ranked schools have no underperforming student demographic groups and a graduation rate of at least 67 percent.

The majority of Rock Island County schools — 31 in all — earned the “commendable” designation.

These schools, according to ISBE, have no underperforming student groups and a graduation rate of at least 67 percent, but their performance is not in the top 10 percent of schools statewide. About 70 percent of all schools in the state received this designation.

United Township High School District superintendent Jay Morrow said he is very pleased UTHS was identified as a commendable school.

“We feel it demonstrates the result of a great deal of work put forth over many years to raise student achievement,” he said. “...The strides we have made in terms of academic performance and graduation rate are a direct result of many decisions that were implemented over the years and are bearing fruit.”

Morrow said the district will continue to monitor, refine and add to its efforts where the most need is identified and where resources are available to “move the needle the most.”

Thirteen schools in the county were rated as “underperforming,” a designation received by about 15 percent of schools in the state.

They include junior high schools in the Rock Island-Milan, Moline-Coal Valley, Silvis, Riverdale and Rockridge school districts. Elementary schools with this rating include Silvis’ George O. Barr, Moline’s Hamilton and Lincoln-Irving, and Earl Hanson, and Thomas Jefferson and Rock Island Academy in Rock Island-Milan.

According to ISBE, an underperforming rating indicates most students are performing well, but one or more student groups are underperforming. These schools will receive targeted support, including a minimum of $15,000 per school and additional federal funds. Schools that do not exit from the targeted support within three years are then moved into comprehensive support, which provides a minimum of $100,000 per school and additional federal funding. Schools in this group must team with a learning partner and have a school support manager assigned.

Schools that do not exit from the targeted support within three years are moved into comprehensive support, which provides a minimum of $100,000 per school and additional federal funding. They are required to team with a learning partner and have a school support manager.

No school in Rock Island County earned the “lowest performing” rating received by 5 percent of schools in the state and any high school with a graduation rate of 67 percent or less.

ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said it is important to also note the evidence-based funding tiers, 1 to 4, assigned to districts. Tiers are assigned based on how much a district should be getting in funding compared to how much they are getting, or the adequacy of funding, Matthews said.

According to ISBE, the state retooled its primary funding model in 2017 to send more state funding to districts with the greatest financial need.

United Township, Silvis, East Moline, Moline-Coal Valley and Rock Island-Milan districts were all ranked Tier 1. All other districts in the county were ranked Tier 2.

Tier 1 schools receive 50 percent of new funding, and a second round of funding sends 49 percent of new funding to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools. Matthews said that leaves .9 percent of new funding sent to Tier 3 schools and .1 percent for Tier 4 schools.

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