POLK COUNTY -- Four of the eight schools in the Mid-Willamette Valley that earned a score of "exceptional" on the state's annual school district report cards were from Polk County.
Whitworth Elementary School in Dallas and Henry Hill, Independence and Monmouth elementary schools, all in Central School District, received the highest marks.
Overall, schools at all levels in both districts received at least a "satisfactory" mark and none fell from their 2004-05 rankings.
The annual report cards are the Oregon Department of Education's method of gauging academic performance while providing statistics on attendence, behavior and other criteria.
Results usually are more favorable than those on the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report.
The state testing concentrates on improvement at schools from year to year as opposed to the AYP focus of performance standards of subgroups, such as English-learner students or those with physical or mental disabilities.
The state formula gives more weight to how much a school has improved during the past few years.
In Dallas, Lyle and Oakdale Heights elementary schools earned "strong" marks. The middle and high schools remained at satisfactory, as they have since 2000.
Talmadge Middle School and Ash Creek Elementary School in Monmouth/Independence jumped up a notch to "strong" this year.
Henry Hill Elementary Principal Mike Frantum said he and other adminstrators were pleased with marked improvement made last year.
"All three of our elementary schools have very different profiles," he said. "You have about 130 elementary schools in the Willamette Valley, and have three of them (schools rated as exceptional) come from one small district.
"That's something we're all very proud of."
The state also released earlier this month dropout rates in high schools during the 2004-05 school year.
Falls City and Dallas high schools had rates of 4.4 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, that year. Both were increases from 2003-04 and higher than the state average of 4.2 percent.
(Because of Falls City's traditionally small student population -- 58 were enrolled in the high school in 2004 -- any small change significantly skews schoolwide data.)
Perrydale had a dropout rate of only 1 percent.
No updated dropout data was provided by the state for Central School District.