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  • Fairbury News staff

UE receives top designation

Prairie Central Upper Elementary is shown last week in Forrest / Angie Kratochvil photo.

Prairie Central Upper Elementary has received the state’s top designation of “Exemplary” through the Illinois ESSA plan.

Each school in Illinois receives such a designation, which ranges from “Lowest Performing” to “Exemplary”. In order to receive the top designation, Prairie Central Upper Elementary’s performance was in the top 10% of all schools in the state.

“The district is elated to have a top 10 percent school,” said PC Superintendent Paula Crane. “The staff has worked extremely hard to vet curriculum and improve instructional methods to best serve the needs of our students, and this has obviously paid off.”

Performance measures included both academic and school quality/student success indicators. PCUE teachers and staff have worked extremely hard to achieve the “Exemplary” designation, the only one in Livingston County, focusing on instructional methods and curriculum improvements to better meet needs of students based on previous years’ scores and other data points.

To designate a score, the state uses student growth as a significant factor. This differs from past practice, which focused greatly on student test scores and weather they met a certain criteria (proficiency). Growth scores indicate how much a student has improved over the past year.

This way, students with disabilities and slow learners, who may not have the ability to achieve at the same level as their non-disabled peers, can contribute to the designation by showing measured growth. Together, growth and proficiency make up seventy-five percent of the overall designation at the elementary level. The other 25 percent is based on school quality, including chronic absenteeism (20%) and a school climate survey (5%).

At the high school level, student growth is not taken into consideration because of the lack of continuity in testing. Instead, academic indicators include proficiency in English, math, and science, as well as graduation rate (50%). The high school is also evaluated on chronic absenteeism, a school climate survey, and a “ninth-graders on track to graduate” measure. In order to be deemed “on track”, a freshman must have earned five credits and have no more than one semester failure in a core subject. To read more about the ESSA designations for schools, visit

“Prairie Central is extremely proud of our Prairie Central Upper Elementary family and their accomplishments and we strongly believe we will see even more of our schools earn this same recognition in the years to come,” added Crane.

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