Elementary School teachers and students have set the bar high.
The school held its first tests of the newly revamped Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests last year and the newly revealed scores show Lanesborough students trending ahead of state averages in nearly every category.
The state is not placing an accountability rank on schools that have moved to the new system, but the first year will set a benchmark to measure growth in the future.
Johnson emphasized that his comments were meant to address the national trend in education and not reflect on Williamstown's priorities. And he said there are issues of equity involved in the rush to bring technology into the classroom.
Principal Justin Kratz said McCann was a Level 1 district three years ago but because the vocational students typically perform well on the test, it was hard to maintain the percentage of growth critical to the state leveling formula.
Hoosac Valley Elementary School Principal Michele Colvin says despite all the changes in the district, the elementary school is unifying and thriving.
Colvin said the school had to reinvent itself and even created a new mascot, the "Lilí 'Canes," and a new motto, Together Everyone Achieves More or TEAM.
Some of the biggest gains were seen in sixth-grade English Language Arts scores. In 2016, the medium growth percentile was 21; in 2017, the score was 55.
Another big gain was the Grade 4 math average score that was bumped up to 61 this year over last year's 28.
While they might not know the name, educators are preparing for a version of the 20-year-old Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System that will be more in-depth and more complex than ever before.
"Sometimes the upgrades are really minor, and you as a user might not even notice what has actually changed," Superintendent Barbara Malkas told the School Committee on Tuesday. "This is not one of those situations."
Superintendent Jason McCandless said he is watching closely what the federal replacement to No Child Left Behind will ultimately mean for the district.
Last year the federal government adopted Every Student Succeeds Act and it was signed into law on Dec. 10. The program replaces No Child Left Behind but it does retain some of those provisions. When it comes to the local level, the largest changes would be regarding the ranking system.
Mount Greylock Regional School has maintained its Level 1 rating, but it would have dropped down if the spring standardized tests had been counted.
For the first time last spring, some Mount Greylock students were tested using the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) standardized test, while the rest took the traditional MCAS exam.
The elementary school has again scored a top level ranking from the state.
The scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have placed the school as Level 1. While the school has consistently ranked Level 1 in recent years, what stands out about this year's results is that PARCC was a pilot program which had a clause allowing schools to be held harmless in state accountability.
McCann Technical School Principal Justin Kratz told the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District School Committee on Thursday that McCann students have continued to score highly on the MCAS.
"This is really the same thing I have said the past couple of years. We continue to do very well on the MCAS," he said.
On the surface, standardized testing scores for the Pittsfield School District distinguishes the system as Level 3 in the state's rankings.
But Superintendent Jason McCandless says looking deeper into the numbers, the scores show progress in the areas the district has focused on. The district revamped its English curriculum in the elementary school to a unified one and this year expanded it to the middle school level, is piloting math curriculum this year to do the same. But maybe even more
Clarksburg School has achieved a Level 1 status based on last spring's standardized tests.
"Staff and teachers really worked hard over a number of years to reach this level," Superintendent Jon Lev said at Thursday's School Committee meeting.
Williamstown Elementary School passed its first year under a new standardized testing regime with flying colors, the School Committee learned on Wednesday.
Last spring marked the first time the school's pupils were evaluated by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test in place of the commonwealth's traditional Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.
Another year of subpar standardized test scores has administrators in the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District seeking ways to improve performance.
"What we need to do is more parent outreach and work with students, teachers and administration because it is going to have to be a broad initiative if we want to be successful because we have to turn around what has been a steady trend for a long time," interim Superintendent Robert Putnam told the School Committee on Monday.