November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008


Dear LoMA Family,


With Thanksgiving feast occurring Tuesday evening, it is time to think about what we are thankful this year. At the top of my list will be how successful our school has become as we reach full capacity. Last Monday I wrote about how fantastic our extracurricular activities have been going. This past week I have seen courtroom battles in the government class and performing elements in the chemistry class. Our teachers are putting together some real interesting lessons and throughout the school, I see more students than ever actively engaged in their schoolwork and attending tutoring. I am very proud of how hard our students and teacher are working.


Last week’s release of the school progress report confirmed my optimism about everyone’s good work. As you may know, schools do not receive a grade on their progress reports in their first four years because 25% of a school’s grade comes from graduation rates and the types of diplomas graduates receive. Even without these 25 points however, LoMA has scored 64 points. In order to get an A, a school needs 64 points. In other words, even without those 25 points for graduation rates, LoMA has already earned an A! Furthermore, based on what we currently know about our senior class’s likely graduation rate and the number of Regents diplomas they have earned, we are likely to get an additional 20 points making us one of the top three scoring high schools in Manhattan. Congratulations everyone!


You can see the full reports through the statistics link on our school website. The formula that the city uses to determine these scores is complicated and based on how much students have improved since they came to LoMA and the school environment. We have done remarkably well in both of these categories.


The school environment is based on attendance rates and school surveys. Maybe it is just because people don’t want to be yelled at by Trece, but our attendance rates have averaged about 86% with many students never missing a day. About 50 students have even improved their attendance by 10% in the last month. We will now post the names of these improving students on the honor board every month. In school surveys, our school receives some of the highest ratings in the city from our students, parents and teachers. In particular, over 90% of the LoMA family feels that our students are engaged in the school activities, are safe at LoMA and are being challenged in their classes. Ninety percent of students reported that they must work hard to receive good grades and that their teachers support them and expect them to go to college. We do still have some work to do as some students reported that students do not treat teachers and peers with enough respect, but I think we are on the right track there as well.


Our high scores in academic progress are a product of our high course pass rates and excellent Regents results. Eighty percent of our students are passing all their classes every year. There may be several reasons for this - our policy of leaving students back if they fail classes, the frequent and popular tutoring opportunities after school or the engaging lessons by our teachers – but the bottom line is that LoMAs students are trying harder and experiencing more success in their classes than the great majority of students in New York City. This success is reflected in our high pass rates on the Regents. Our pass rates exceed 85% on most of the Regents when many comparable schools cannot hit the 50% mark. Not only that, many of our students are scoring in the high 80s on the Regents giving the school additional bonus points.


Most of the time when we think about our school’s motto, we think about how much the staff of LoMA care about their students, and this played a big role in our success. But even more important, is the effort that our students are putting into their work because LoMA’s students care. They care about their behavior, homework and grades. That is why when I sit down to my exquisitely cooked turkey dinner at this Tuesday’s Thanksgiving Feast, I will reflect on how thankful I am to have such dedicated, smart students at LoMA.


I am proud of our family,



John Wenk