MCAS Scores Improve at High School

Winthrop High School Principal Eileen Belastock gave a presentation on the excellent work that students and teachers have been doing during the Winthrop School Committee Meeting on Oct. 6. Principal Belastock also discussed student accountability, and indicated the high need areas that the school needs to improve in.

“We continually self-reflect on ways to improve our teaching practices to give students the best education possible,” said Principal Belastock.

Winthrop High School has been ranked a Level 2 school based on students’ cumulative PPI (performance and progress index). Massachusetts classifies schools in Levels 1-5; five being the lowest performing.  The PPI has to be 75 or higher in all subgroups in order for the high school to be classified as a Level 1 school. The state calculates a school’s PPI on narrowed efficiency gaps, student growth percentile, and graduate and drop-out rates.

Principal Belastock presented a four year chat of the high school’s PPI. For the all students category, the high school met above target at 81; but received a 69 in the high risk category, which has placed the high school at Level 2. A school must be at least 75 in both categories to be considered a Level 1.

Principal Belastock has been focusing on her students strengths. Over the last four years more students have been moving into proficiency levels. The student growth percentile, which measures students with similar MCAS score histories, has been consistently above or at target the last four years.

“This is a real reflection on what’s been going on in the high school,” said Principal Belastock. “We’re moving in the right direction. A lot of good things are going on with MCAS.”

Principal Belastock has been working on high priority areas with the assistant principal and lead teachers. The CPI has been declining for the last two years in math and ELA for students with disabilities. Science scores and drop-out rates of low income students have increased. The ELL population has gotten larger, with some students entering the school knowing no English at all.

“Students who failed MCAS were students with disabilities, who are also low income, and ELL. That’s a concern. They’re a combination of a few groups,” Principal Belastock explains. “We want to be able to support them.”

Identifying and enhancing support for students is what Principal Belastock wants to concentrate on. The high school is looking to offer a before school MCAS support class, and a fall and spring eight-week after school SAT prep course.

Teachers will be attending professional development courses. There will be more co-teaching classes, which offer all students a more inclusive education in a less restricted environment, where special and regular education teachers work together.

The iPad initiative is an adaptive technology that will also provide personalized, small group, and differentiated learning.

“Our teachers this year are teaching four classes, which has been invaluable to the administration because they’re able to work with the data with teachers and figure out where our needs and strengths are,” said Principal Belastock. “The most important thing we need to do is identify who these students are and design a program that’s going to make them successful.”

To view Principal Belastock’s proficiency charts, student demographics, and math, ELA, and science MCAS scores over the past four years, visit

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