Annual Performance Report
The following is an Executive Summary of the 2012 Annual Performance Report Lincoln-Sudbury produced to inform the communities we serve of our successes and the areas in which we hope to improve. At the bottom of this summary is a link to a PowerPoint presentation with the data behind this summary.
The Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School serves students from the towns of Lincoln and Sudbury, which have a long history of support for public education. The high school is comprised of students from the PreK-8 feeder districts from the two towns, and participates in a voluntary school integration program, the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO). This report compares Lincoln-Sudbury to neighboring and peer districts, including Acton-Boxborough, Bedford, Concord-Carlisle, Lexington, Newton, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston. Where appropriate, this report makes comparisons between the regional school district and its feeder districts and/or outcomes of students from each feeder district.
II. District profile [Note: Comparative information provided is based on the latest data on http://profiles.doe.mass.edu. Whenever possible data from 2011-2012 school year is used.]
Enrollment: The 2011-2012 student enrollment was 1,600 students. This included 216 students from Lincoln, 1,278 students from Sudbury, 92 students through the METCO program, and 14 children of staff from the Lincoln Public Schools, Sudbury Public Schools, or Lincoln-Sudbury.
Over the last ten years, there was a notable increase in enrollment. The high school has 223 more students (a 16% increase) than a decade before. The percent increase in enrollment of students from Lincoln (13.9%) and Sudbury (14.7%) was similar during this time period.
During the past decade, the enrollment peaked during the 2008-09 school year at 1,640 and has declined gradually. The school is expected to have a second enrollment spike in 2013-14, at 1,627 students, with enrollment gradually declining from that point for the foreseeable future.
The percentage of the 8th grade cohort, who subsequently enroll at Lincoln-Sudbury, is greater for Sudbury than for Lincoln. On average over the past decade, 78.5% of the Lincoln 8th grade cohort enroll at Lincoln-Sudbury, compared to 94.9% of Sudbury 8th graders. This percentage shows annual fluctuations for both communities that can be positively correlated to the opening of the new high school and negatively correlated to teacher layoffs.
Class Size: Lincoln-Sudbury has an average class size of 20.5, which is generally higher than most of our peer communities. Only Acton-Boxborough (20.6) and Sudbury Public (21.1) have higher class sizes. Most Lincoln-Sudbury students experience class sizes of 24-28 in their academic subjects, which is higher than educationally ideal. Increasingly more classes are filled beyond the designed room capacity of 28 for classrooms and 24 for science labs.
Because the high school was not fiscally able to hire teachers at a rate to meet rapidly increasing student growth at the turn of the millennium and because of further staff layoffs in recent years, the ratio of students to teachers (and counselors) has increased from 10.9 in 2002-03 to 13.4 a decade later. Current student:teacher ratios at Lincoln-Sudbury fall in the middle of those of our peer communities.
Diversity: Lincoln-Sudbury has a longstanding commitment to the METCO program. Ninety-two Boston residents are enrolled through this program, which is largely responsible for providing the racial and cultural diversity in our classrooms. Lincoln-Sudbury has the second largest METCO program in proportion to total enrollment – second only to Lincoln Public Schools. Our Boston residents represent 5.8% of the high school’s enrollment. Lincoln-Sudbury also has one of the lowest percentages of limited English proficient students within our peer communities.
Special Education: At the high school level, most students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) receiving Special Education services do so in Lincoln-Sudbury’s Learning Center. The services students receive in the Learning Center are specified by their IEP. These students are fully included in regular education classes – one of the blocks in their schedule is dedicated for receiving IEP services.
The percentage of Lincoln-Sudbury students identified with a learning disability and receiving Special Education services is generally higher than that of our peer districts. In 2011-12, 18.8% of Lincoln-Sudbury students were receiving Special Education services – only Newton (20.2%) and Wayland (19.4%) had higher proportions of students identified with learning disabilities. The number of students on IEPs is in part a function of the feeder PreK-8 districts’ identification of students with disabilities. Sudbury Public Schools is placing students on IEPs 33% more frequently than Lincoln Public Schools – 13.6% vs. 10.2%.
Social and Emotional Learning: Lincoln-Sudbury places special emphasis on two of its Core Values – respect for human differences and fostering caring and cooperative relationships. Our Wellness program and Guidance curriculum aim at educating the whole child. We additionally support these Core Values through programs like Peer Mediation, Mentors in Violence Prevention, the Life of a Warrior, and other opportunities to develop the leadership potential of students and in encouraging student connectedness with adults in the building. Through these efforts, Lincoln-Sudbury has a positive school climate that supports students’ ability to focus on academic success. Our administrative team also tracks and reports on discipline issues and works closely with public safety officials.
Staffing: Lincoln-Sudbury salaries are comparable to our peer communities and reflect a high number of experienced teachers who continually strive for personal and professional growth by enriching themselves through graduate studies. In 2011-12 we had 119.8 teachers with an average teacher salary of $82,985. Starting salaries for teachers with a master’s degree was $46,830.
Per-pupil Expenditure: The residents of Lincoln and Sudbury provide a high level of support to their regional high school. In turn, Lincoln-Sudbury provides a high quality educational experience to its students at a fiscally responsible per pupil expenditure. While the tax revenue and override decisions in Sudbury have limited the high school’s fiscal growth in recent years, the high school’s $16,375 per pupil expenditure in 2011 falls squarely within the average per pupil expenditure of our peer districts ($16,584). The high school’s 2011 per-pupil expenditure is less than Lincoln Public’s district per pupil expenditure of $20,776, but is higher than Sudbury Public School’s spending of $12,359.
Lincoln-Sudbury aims to operate efficiently and ensure that tax dollars are used effectively. The school administration and School Committee have been exploring a solar energy project that will allow the high school to save substantially on energy costs for years to come. The school has been working with various user groups to enlist community support and funds to replace lighting on the stadium field. The high school has also been expanding support for students “in district” by adding Language-Based Learning Disabilities programming and enhancing its alternative program ACE in order to retain more students and decrease the need for out-of-district placements.
Lincoln-Sudbury uses data from course grades and placement, MCAS, AP, SAT, and ACT exams to track the overall performance of our educational program. We will also be developing outcome measures and performance benchmarks as part of the new evaluation system for teachers and administrators that will take effect in 2013-14.
MCAS: Students take the MCAS exams in 8th grade and again in 10th grade. 2012 MCAS scores for 10th graders show that 84% of our tenth grade students were advanced (the highest category) in math, a rank of #3 out of the eleven comparison peer high schools. In 10th grade English, 72% were advanced, placing Lincoln-Sudbury #2 out of our 11 peer community high schools. In science, only 39% of Lincoln-Sudbury students were advanced for a rank of only #10 out of 11 peers. Peer districts with additional class time for laboratory sciences had more students scoring advanced on the Science MCAS.
The MCAS Student Growth Percentile (which compares the improvement in scores of students from one year to the next against their academic peers) indicates that Lincoln-Sudbury in 2012 had 10th grade average SGP of 56 in English (in the top half of their academic peers) and ranked #5 out of the 11 comparison high schools and 10th grade average SGP of 60 in Math, which ranked #4 out of the 11 comparable schools.
In 2010, there was a negligible difference in the performance of 8th grades from our feeder middle schools on their 8th grade English, Math, and Science MCAS exams. Two years later, a significant number of these 8th graders moved from the category of proficient to advanced on their 10th grade MCAS exams.
The high school has experienced budgetary challenges since the 2007-2008 school year and laid off over 7 FTE of teachers (5.5% of the faculty) at a time when enrollment was high but relatively flat. The reduction in staffing increased teacher load and class sizes. There is no indication that the staffing reduction has decreased MCAS performance. In fact, the trend over the past five years shows a progressive increase in Lincoln-Sudbury 10th graders receiving advanced scores on English and Math MCAS. English advanced scores increased from 38% to 72% and Math from 67% to 84% during the past five years.
SAT & ACT: SAT and ACT tests are measures of academic readiness for college studies. In 2012 Lincoln-Sudbury had a combined SAT median of 1782, with SAT media in Reading of 583, Writing 579, and Math 620. On the ACT, Lincoln-Sudbury had a composite median of 26, with media in English of 25, Math of 27, Reading 27, Science 25, and Writing 25.
Massachusetts does not list online ACT information for inter-district comparisons, but the information does exist for SAT exams. Within our peer high schools, Lincoln-Sudbury has the second to lowest mean combined SAT scores. Lincoln-Sudbury’s SAT combined mean in 2012 was 1782, nearly 100 points below the peer school with the highest combined mean.
Advanced Placement (AP): Lincoln-Sudbury, like Concord-Carlisle, does not have a full AP program across all academic disciplines. This does not mean that the high school does not provide a rigorous academic program across the disciplines. Many of high-level courses taught at Lincoln-Sudbury during 11th and 12th grades rival those taught in liberal arts colleges. While not tied to the AP curriculum nor labeled as AP courses, many upper-level courses at Lincoln-Sudbury provide both AP rigor and find students feeling prepared for AP exams in a variety of subjects.
Many of our peer high schools offer more AP courses and subsequently have more students taking AP exams. For the Class of 2012, Lincoln-Sudbury ranked 9th out of 11 peer schools for the percent of each graduating cohort taking at least one AP exam while in high school. Scores on AP exams over 3 are considered by the College Board as predictive of college success and college graduation. 92.6% of Lincoln-Sudbury students taking AP tests received 3 or higher on their exams. Lincoln-Sudbury ranked 7th out of 11 peer schools for percentage of AP tests scored 3 or higher.
High School Placement and Grades: There is no difference in outcomes at Lincoln-Sudbury based on the feeder PreK-8 district a student attended. This statement is true across all academic areas, English, Math, Science, History, and World Languages. There is no difference in Lincoln and Sudbury students when looking at the preparedness of 9th graders for upper-level classes, in the grades students receive, the GPA students earn over their years in high school, the MCAS, SAT, and ACT standardized test scores received, or the percentage of 12th graders finishing in upper-level classes. From every analysis run, the high school’s two feeder districts equally prepare students for the rigors of Lincoln-Sudbury and equally position them for strong outcomes.
METCO Outcomes: Despite many of our METCO students attending school in Lincoln or Sudbury since early grade school, a significant achievement gap exists between METCO students and their resident peers. METCO students are largely not enrolled in our highest levels of Math or Science and are significantly underrepresented in our highest levels of English, History, and Language classes. The median grade realized by METCO students in these highest-level courses is significantly lower than that of their suburban resident classmates, generally B- vs. B+. This difference in median course grade ultimately impacts the Grade Point Average (GPA) of our Boston students. METCO seniors of the Class of 2012 had a median GPA of 2.17 compared to an average GPA of approximately 3.18 for students residing in Lincoln and Sudbury. Despite the achievement gap while at Lincoln-Sudbury, our METCO students are well prepared for college. Based on 2011 data from the state, 63% of Lincoln-Sudbury METCO students attended 4-year colleges compared to 42% of students from Boston Public Schools and the 58% Massachusetts state average.
Post High School: The dropout rate at Lincoln-Sudbury is negligible. While all of our peer communities graduate students at high rates, Lincoln-Sudbury has one of the highest 4-year adjusted graduation rates (based on the percent of the initial class graduating in four years) and had a 5-year adjusted graduation rate for the Class of 2010 of 100%. These graduation rates have been sustained over time.
Lincoln-Sudbury, like our peer communities, sends the majority of its graduates off to college. The Class of 2010 saw 88% heading to 4-year colleges and 4% to 2-year colleges. These high levels of college attendance are similar to our peer communities.
College Placement: In 2012, 386 seniors sent out 3,447 applications to 402 different colleges. 124 of these applications were Early Decision and 683 were Early Action. The average Lincoln-Sudbury senior applies to significantly more colleges than the typical student in New England – 8.9 colleges for Lincoln-Sudbury seniors vs. 5.1 reported by the Common Application. This discrepancy skews an interpretation of college admission success.
In 2012, the colleges that Lincoln-Sudbury seniors applied to most frequently were UMass Amherst (158 applicants), Northeastern (88), University of Vermont (85), University of New Hampshire (75), UConn (63), Boston University (61), Boston College (44), Tufts (43), Quinnipiac (38), and UMass Dartmouth (31).
The College Board ranks schools, from Most Competitive to Less Competitive, on how selective the school is for admissions. Students typically apply to a few “safety” schools at which they have a high probability of gaining acceptance and may apply to a couple of “reach” schools. Lincoln-Sudbury students each find a college appropriately suited for their needs, but apply to many “reach” schools in the process. Despite so many students applying to “reach” schools, Lincoln-Sudbury students had acceptance rates at Most Competitive, Very Competitive, Somewhat Competitive, and Less Competitive that on average met or exceeded the national acceptance rates at the colleges.
IV. Achievements and Challenges
Some achievements over the past year (2011-12):
- Explored bringing a renewable energy initiative to the high school
- Hired a new Business Manager, who is currently updating the school’s financial systems and procedures to ensure the high school continues to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars
- Received grants from the Codman Trust and Sudbury Foundation to provide professional development for all Lincoln-Sudbury teachers to improve their ability to meet the needs of a heterogeneous group of learners, particularly those with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
- Developed a new Alternative Program (ACE) and Language-Based Disabilities Program to better support at-risk students within the district
- Hired an interim Director of Student Services, who has helped reduce the rising flow of students to out-of-district placements
- Negotiated with our employees to reduce the rising cost of health insurance by restructuring health plans to mirror those offered by Massachusetts’ Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
- Finished negotiations on a three-year contract with teachers which should allow Lincoln-Sudbury to retain excellent teachers, control costs, and position the district to hire additional teachers
The big challenges facing us this year and next (2013-14):
- Concluding contract negotiations with administrators and support staff.
- Moving forward with a capital project, which is desperately needed to update the school’s computer technology infrastructure in order to support learning and teaching for next decade
- Developing an advisory system or systematic adult-student connections to meet the NEASC accreditation standard
- Developing new teacher and administrator evaluation systems that include measures of student performance as part of new state mandates
PDFs of this Executive Summary and the full 2012 L-S Performance Report PowerPoint presentation, with comparative data and graphics, are available on the Lincoln-Sudbury website. We welcome your feedback.