The state’s annual school report card shows continued improvement at Homewood-Flossmoor High School with math scores up and English scores holding steady.
The school earned a “commendable” rating for the 2018-19 school year based on three categories. The designation means District 233 had no underperforming student subgroups below the lowest 5 percent in the state. Subgroups are student categories by sex, race, academic needs or special needs. Second, H-F’s 95 percent graduation rate far exceeded the state’s 86 percent rate, and third, H-F was not in the top 10 percent of Illinois high schools.
Academic progress is based on scores of juniors taking the SAT exam, a standardized test used for college admissions. It is the third year the state has used the SAT as a measurement. All 663 H-F juniors were tested, regardless of their post-graduation plans or their special needs.
Scores show a 512.3 score on English/Language Arts. Students are tested on critical reading and writing. The previous year’s score was 512.8. The state average is 497.5.
On the SAT math portion, students scored 503.4, showing a 10-point increase over the 493 score the previous year.
“That’s one of the great celebrations we have this year,” said Jodi Bryant, director of public relations and human resources. The state average was 497.
“We’re very glad that we were rated commendable. I think it’s something to be proud of, which tells you where this data lies in comparison to everyone,” Principal Jerry Anderson said. “The things that we have that are stable, like our high graduation rate and post-secondary enrollment, are things that we are very proud of.
“I don’t think that we shy away from that there are things to improve and that we’re working on. But what I’m happy to say is that we’re actually doing the work. It’s not like it’s something we’re thinking about,” she said.
While the school’s report card depends on the junior class, H-F also is working with eighth graders in District 153 and 161, H-F’s feeder schools, according to Nancy Spaniak, director of curriculum. Their placement tests help H-F staff consider what special assistance the incoming freshmen may need to succeed at the high school level. The information also helps staff see students’ progress throughout their four years at H-F.
“We’re always examining where are the strengths and where are the weaknesses,” she said.
The high school also infuses the curriculum at each grade level and every topic, not just reading and math, with the critical thinking, reading and analytical skills students need for the SAT, Spaniak explained.
Bryant stressed that the state report card reflects one test given on one day. She believes H-F’s story really lies with the 78 percent of students who are still in college after 16 months.
She said students succeed because of the “rigorous” mandated core curriculum at H-F: four years of English; Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Physics and Trigonometry; Biology and Chemistry; and Economics.