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H-F High gets commendable rating in Illinois Report Card ranking

Homewood-Flossmoor High School has a rating of “commendable” in the 2018 Illinois Report Card measurement scale.
The Illinois State Board of Education has moved to a ranking system. There are four designations: exemplary, commendable, underperforming and lowest performing. The measurements are taking into account student scores on standardized tests and how well students perform on them year after year.
In a presentation to the District 233 school board at the Nov. 20 meeting, Principal Jerry Lee Anderson and David Kush, assessments department chair, told board members the commendable ranking means H-F recorded no underperforming subgroups and was well above a 67 percent graduation rate target. H-F has a graduation rate of 97 percent. The state average is 85 percent.
H-F’s freshman class was identified as 92 percent “on track” to graduate. The designation recorded freshmen who are enrolled in at least five full-year course credits and have no more than one “F” grade in a core subject: English, math, science or social science.  
H-F recorded 782 students taking Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or dual enrollment classes. Anderson said students may be enrolled in more than one advanced coursework class, but they are only counted once in the enrollment total.
ISBE uses student scores on the SAT exam for its rankings. SAT sets the performance standard at 540 in English/language arts (ELA) and math.
The 2018 state assessment recorded 39 percent of H-F students met the standard, compared to 37 percent on a statewide average. In 2017, H-F was at 41 percent, beating the state average by 1 percent.
The state average assessment number for math was 34 percent, but H-F recorded at 29 percent, which meets  the SAT standard. The 5 percent difference shows H-F moving to close the gap. In 2017, H-F was 6 percent behind the state.
Kush said math is one of H-F’s major curriculum focus areas as staff continues to assess where students are missing the mark.
The 2018 Report Card also records student success after Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The National Student Clearinghouse, collecting numbers from colleges,  recorded 80 percent of H-F students are at two-year and four-year colleges 12 months after graduation. The state average is 69 percent.
But Bradley Kain and Kevin Coy, H-F’s two college counselors, say the number isn’t a fair picture of H-F successes, since it doesn’t record students going into the military or trade schools, and not all four-year universities are part of the National Student Clearinghouse.
Still, Kain told board members H-F is doing a good job at preparing students for colleges. He said H-F records 87 percent of students who start college are still in college after their first year.
Coy added: “I think that our mission is that we’re doing our best to make sure we find the right (college) fit for the right student and they’re happy where they’re going.” 
H-F students are on 156 college campuses across the nation, including several Ivy League schools. 
“We are proud of where our students go and that’s one thing that they tell us—they’re not afraid to leave the state,” Coy said.
“When we get them there, they’re doing great,” Kain said, giving credit to classroom teachers for their work in preparing students for what’s after H-F.

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