Meriden magnet school shows improvement on state education index

Meriden magnet school shows improvement on state education index

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MERIDEN — Thomas Edison Magnet Middle School showed improvement on the state Department of Education’s Next Generation Accountability Index, according to the latest round of results.

“The accountability data tells us many things using the Smarter Balanced Assessment as a snapshot in time,” said William Rice, assistant executive director of schools and curriculum for ACES, which operates Edison. “It tells us some great things that validate the great work of the staff such as students are performing better on the mathematics portion of SBA, are absent less often...”

When compared with the city’s other two middle schools on the index, Edison scored 67.2 percent on the 100 point scale, while Lincoln Middle School scored 62.5 percent and Washington Middle School scored 59.1 percent. All three schools are below the state average of 74.2. 

The index rates schools by giving them points indicating whether they met, exceeded or did not meet state targets in various areas, including achievement tests, attendance, graduation rates, college entry and physical fitness rates. 

Meriden enrolls 512 students at Thomas Edison, which has just over 700 students. Middletown and Waterbury send about 80 students each and the remaining come from as far away as Watertown and South Windsor. Edison is owned by the city, which contracts with Area Cooperative Educational Services to operate the magnet school at 1355 N. Broad St.

Meriden school officials have said they are considering not extending the contract, which ends in June, in favor of operating Edison. The Meriden Board of Education has formed an ad hoc committee to study an enrollment bubble projected at the city middle schools.

Meriden School Superintendent Mark Benigni has said financial decisions will drive the decision on Edison, but added curriculum control and performance are factors.

“ACES is still hopeful that a new agreement will be in place before the end of the current agreement,” Rice said. 

Edison is in the middle of recruitment and consistently has a waiting list of Meriden students. It was also recently named a magnet school of distinction by Magnet Schools of America.

Benigni said it is unfair to compare Edison’s index results with the city’s middle schools, which also reported improvement this year. 

“While Edison has an application process and can be student selective, Meriden Public Schools truly takes all students regardless of needs and circumstances,” Benigni said. “Edison does not have a bilingual program or serve high needs, special education students. Therefore, a simple comparison is not reflective of student success.”  

Bilingual students make up 3.7 percent of Lincoln and Washington students, while Edison has 0.4 percent. A total of 21.3 percent of Lincoln and Washington students are in special education, while Edison has 12.5 percent.  A total of 75.8 percent of the students at Lincoln and Washington are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, while at Edison 67.4 percent are eligible. 

 “I am confident that Lincoln and Washington's students continue to make solid gains and our top-performing students score every bit as well as Edison’s top students,” Benigni said.
Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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