Wednesday, April 22, 2015

TOP STORY >> Report cards: Charter top area schools

Leader staff writer

Based on the state’s re-port cards, the Jacksonville Lighthouse schools and Lisa Academy North campuses scored better than most public schools in the area.

Lighthouse had an A, two B’s and a C, while Lisa Academy had one A and two C’s – better than the many C’s, D’s and F’s given to the Pulaski County Special School District.

Lighthouse and Lisa Academy also spent about $2,000 less per student than the state and close to $4,000 less than PCSSD.

The state recently released the report card grades for all state schools, and 162 schools received A’s, 322 got B’s, 365 received C’s, 160 garnered D’s and 43 were labeled F schools.

Jacksonville Lighthouse, which started in 2009 with one campus, now has four operating in the Jacksonville area. Mike Wilson, one of the school’s founders, was pleased with the results and wanted people to know about the good grades.

Its Flightline Upper Academy, with 194 students and an average class size of 20 students, received an A from the state with a score of 281. It was also listed as an achieving school, the second highest ranking in that category and one of just 67 schools statewide to be so honored.

Exemplary is the best, and only one school in Arkansas last year reached that title.
Cabot’s four elementary schools — Eastside, Southside, Stagecoach and Mountain Springs — were the only other schools to get A’s  here.

Lighthouse’s College Preparatory Academy, which has yet to run a full class through graduation, received a score of 257 and a B and was listed as an achieving school. Its inaugural students are juniors now. The school has 158 students and an average class size of 18 students. Its students bested the state average on the algebra and geometry end-of-course tests.

In the 2013-14 school year that the state grade is based on, the school had no junior class and there were no scores on the 11th grade literacy exam.

The original campus — the elementary school with 251 students — scored 251 points for a B, too. However, it was listed as a needs-improvement school on the state’s other ranking list, which is third from the top.

The middle school, with 213 students, had 211 points for a C, but was just two points from falling into the D range. It was also listed as a needs-improvement school.

Lisa Academy North’s high school, with a student population of 112 and average class sizes of about 12 students each, garnered 280 points for an A, but was listed as a needs-improvement school.

The middle school, with 177 students, received a C with 210 points, just a point from falling into the D range. It was considered a needs-improvement school, too — one of 876 schools statewide with that designation.

Lisa Academy North’s elementary school was also given a C grade by the state with a score of 234, six points short of a B. The school, with 304 students, was also rated as a needs-improvement school.