Sippican Elementary Fails to Meet PPI

The Marion School Committee met on Wednesday, October 3 for a regular meeting followed by an executive session. Elise Frangos, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, presented an MCAS update in which she explained Massachusetts’ switch from using Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) to the Progress and Performance Index (PPI) for school assessment.

Her presentation demonstrated the process for calculating PPI, which involves measuring the proficiency gap, dividing it by two, and adding it to the school’s baseline. The figure resulting from this calculation is the goal for each school to complete by the 2016-2017 school year.

PPI is a departure from AYP in that each school will have its own goal (reducing the proficiency gap by half by the target date). Under the previous system of AYP, schools were expected to meet 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year.

PPI is calculated over the course of four years, with each successive year carrying more weight. Because of the poor 2011 MCAS scores, Sippican Elementary School’s PPI score falls short of its target of 75 by two points. This classifies Sippican Elementary as a Level Two school.

“You’re carrying the weight of the past years into the future,” Frangos said.

She will continue her presentation on PPI at the next meeting of the Committee, when she will discuss the PPI data for each grade level and content area.

Rania Lavranos, Co-Chairman of VASE, sought approval from the Committee for a gift card fundraiser. The fundraiser would allow for community members to purchase gift cards from over 500 popular retailers through Sippican Elementary, which would receive a portion of the sales.

The fundraiser was approved unanimously.

VASE is also seeking new members, particularly parents who would be interested in serving as the Co-Chairmen next year. Those interested in joining VASE may contact the current Co-Chairmen by emailing

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s very rewarding,” Lavranos said. “Someone will step up. Someone will do it.”

The Committee also approved the travel destination for the Safety Patrol trip. Parents and students overwhelmingly selected Williamsburg over Philadelphia and New York City. The proposed itinerary includes two days of academic tours and one day of non-academic, which would be conducted at Busch Gardens.

Brad Gordon, Committee Chairman and past Safety Patrol chaperone, spoke highly of the travel company but questioned the itinerary’s inclusion of an amusement park.

Ultimately, the Committee voted to approve the itinerary and defer to the administrators regarding the day trip to Busch Gardens.

Finally, the Committee heard from fourth grade teachers about the grading pilot. This year, the fourth grade teachers are foregoing letter grades in favor of a number system with extensive feedback for students. The hope is that the pilot will foster students’ growth by building one-on-one conversation between teacher and student, as well as ease the transition into the letter grade system.

Overall, the teachers thought well of the grading pilot; however, its true merits will not be measured until the school receives this year’s MCAS growth projectiles and feedback from parents.

In other business:

• The Committee approved an updated Emergency Plan.

• The Committee granted the kindergarten teachers permission to use the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment (an intensive pilot program in which they are participating) in place of the traditional report card assessment.

• Elise Frangos announced a parent-teacher education forum entitled “Understanding Your Pre-Adolescent and Adolescent” to be led by Kathryn Collins on Wednesday, October 24. The free event, open to the public, will begin at 6:00 pm at the ORRJHS library. Collins will discuss eating disorders, self-harm, the physical and social impact of puberty, as well as how parents can support their children with difficult peer relationships.

• Principal Evelyn Rivet asked parents to visit the school’s website and take a survey about the open house procedures. Only 33 parents have taken the survey thus far.

• The Committee voted to accept two donations, one $500 donation in gift cards from the Visiting Nurses Association and one $25,000 cash donation to the Principal’s Account by an anonymous donor.

The next regular meeting of the Marion School Committee will be on Wednesday, November 7 at 6:30 pm at the Town House.

By Anne Smith

One Response to “Sippican Elementary Fails to Meet PPI”

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  1. Brad A. Gordon says:


    I was disappointed to see the headline for your report of the 2011 MCAS results focusing on Sippican School’s failure to meet the highest level of PPI in this measure’s first year of usage. Your report failed to note that Sippican School fell 2 points short of the Level 1 ranking of 75 out of 100, based upon the past 4 years’ MCAS results. More importantly, your report entirely omits any mention of the results of the 2011 MCAS test for the school, which were exceptional. In every category, Sippican School was ranked among the top echelon of schools in the state for 2011, including placement as number 10 of 955 school districts in 3rd grade math. For 2011’s test, which was the most recently reported, in addition to the exceptional ranking in the top 1% of school districts in the state for 3rd grade math, Sippican School achieved the following rankings in each of the categories of the exam:

    3rd grade English – 216 of 955 districts, top 23 percentile
    4th grade English – 305 of 936 districts, top 33 percentile
    4th grade math – 164 of 936 districts, top 18 percentile
    5th grade English – 201 of 881 districts, top 23 percentile
    5th grade math – 106 of 881 districts, top 12 percentile
    5th grade science – 276 of 881 districts, top 31 percentile
    6th grade English – 114 of 555 districts, top 21 percentile
    6th grade math – 51 of 555 districts, top 9 percentile

    The Marion School Commitee will review the full report of the 2011 MCAS test results in detail at next month’s meeting. I am hopeful that your report of those results in that meeting will reflect the exemplary performance of the Sippican School students on this test rather than a 2 point shortfall from the highest level of PPI based on the prior 4 years’ cumulative results.

    Brad A. Gordon
    Marion School Committee

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