NEW BEDFORD — As school departments across the state assess the results of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Accountability Report, released Monday, officials at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School (GNBVT) are celebrating the academic growth of the student body over the past year.

The state report says GNBVT performs in the 64th percentile of high schools in Massachusetts. Each year, the DESE establishes and measures each school’s performance against internal goals and compares school performances across the state.   The Report highlights the success of all students, the lowest-performing subgroup of students, minority students, and high needs students which includes economically disadvantaged students, English Learning (EL) students, and students with disabilities.

“We’ve continued in my superintendence to take care the little things, and in doing so, we have grown as a vocational school to the top seven in regards to the top vocational schools in Massachusetts. With regards to comparing to all the other schools within the district we are showcasing that 64-percentile because of the hard work of the students and the faculty each and every day,” said GNBVT Superintendent James O’Brien.

“Students here at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech are growing at a rate faster than their peers. That’s because of taking care of instruction in both the academic arena and supporting that instruction in our vocational programs.”

Along with the statistics showing all GNBVT students meeting or exceeding achievement targets in ELA, Math, and Biology, the report also highlights tremendous successes for students in the high needs category (economically disadvantaged students, EL students, and Students with Disabilities).

High needs students’ performance at GNBVT when compared to the same subgroup of students across Massachusetts high schools found the group outperformed nearly 90% of their peers.

Within the subgroup, both GNBVT Economically Disadvantaged students and EL students outperformed 92% of their peers in the Commonwealth and Students with Disabilities outperformed 70%.   The High Needs subgroup achieved Mean Student Growth Scores that demonstrated ‘High Growth’ in ELA and ‘Exceeded Typical Growth’ in Math.  The Mean Student Growth indicator compares students with peers across the state that shared prior assessment scores in middle school and measures their change in performance on the 10th grade assessment.

Beginning in 2018, the DESE began measuring the performance of every school’s lowest 25-percent of students.  In the last two years the lowest 25-percent of GNBVT students have sustained a 6-point increase in ELA, achieved a 10-point increase in math and 12-point increase in science achievement scores.  The school continues to “raise the floor” in student achievement by increasing the results of its lowest performers.

Among the 2019 highlights for GNBVT: In English Language Arts, students achieved a Composite Performance Index (CPI) score of 99.2 which exceeded the target; in Mathematics, students achieved a CPI score of 95.6 and in Science students achieved a CPI score of 93.7, with both assessments meeting the targets identified by DESE.

The report also found GNBVT’s graduation rate increased over the previous year growing to 90.1-percent and the drop-out rate decreased by more than 25-percent over 2017, exceeding the target rate for GNBVT. O’Brien says the significant drop in the school’s dropout rate is from “an entire grassroots effort.”

“These students come into Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech and they know we are a Voc-Tech family. Whether it’s a past alum or a new student to our school, we as a school roll up our sleeves and have a solid retention committee, who meets bi-weekly to discuss students that are at-risk’ O’Brien explained.

“We also have a strong student mentor program that the school committee supports in our budget in order to work with all students to have them stay in school. We also have various clubs, whether it be the mentor program after school or the homework club, students come to Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech to learn and they see a light at the end of the tunnel with a successful graduation.”

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