DMPS and the Iowa School Performance Profiles

Des Moines Public Schools is not only the most diverse school district in Iowa but also one of the most diverse in the nation. This reflects not only the demographic makeup of our community but also the educational programs available to our students.

From International Baccalaureate and Turnaround Arts schools in Des Moines to the district-wide Schools for Rigor initiative to developing a one-of-a-kind graduate degree in urban education, in these and many other ways DMPS is working hard to live up to our vision of “becoming the model for urban education.” DMPS is also committed to accountability in realizing that vision.

The State of Iowa has released new information on school performance as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This information includes a new online reporting tool called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, which reflects how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. Based on this, some schools have been identified for additional support and improvement.

“Under the previous federal law, No Child Left Behind, schools were punished if they were not meeting certain benchmarks. In short, NCLB was little more than a tool to attack public education, not to improve it,” noted Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “Rather than taking a punitive approach, under ESSA we are at least trying to provide some support to schools that need it. That’s a step in the right direction.”

“At the same time, this new measure does not tell us anything today that we did not know yesterday,” said Ahart. “As we educate thousands of students who live in poverty, who are English Language Learners, and who have special education needs, we know the challenges they face in the classroom. No law is going to change our commitment to support every one of our students.”

“One thing this report makes clear is that there is a price to pay for Iowa’s recent history of underfunding public education,” added Ahart. “If our state continues its trend of little or no growth in support for our schools, we are not going to be able to support those student who most need our help.”

Under ESSA, schools that do not meet the new accountability measures are placed in one of two categories:

  • Comprehensive Support and Improvement: these schools have an overall score within the lowest 5 percent of Iowa schools receiving federal Title I funding, or are high schools with a graduation rate below 67.1 percent.
  • Targeted Support and Improvement: the school has a student subgroup score that is as low as the lowest 5 percent of schools in the state. Student subgroups can include special education, English Language Learners, and race.

Identified schools receive support from the state and area education agencies and will develop improvement plans with input from local stakeholders. Schools also will have an opportunity to put resources toward a cohesive improvement effort.

At DMPS, two elementary schools and three middle schools have been identified for Comprehensive support, and thirty-two schools have been selected for Targeted support for one or more subgroups of students.

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Below is a list of DMPS schools and their ESSA designation for the Iowa School Performance Profiles, noting whether they will receive comprehensive or targeted support (and the subgroup of students for that designation).

Brubaker ES Targeted – IEP, EL, AA, H
Capitol View ES Targeted – IEP & EL
Carver ES Targeted – AA, EL, FRL, IEP
Cattell ES Targeted – AA, EL, IEP
Cowles Elementary Met
Downtown ES Met
Edmunds ES Met
Findley ES Targeted – EL, FRL, IEP, W
Garton ES Targeted – AA, FRL, IEP
Greenwood ES Targeted – IEP
Hanawalt ES Met
Hillis ES Met
Howe ES Targeted – EL, H
Hubbell ES Met
Jackson ES Targeted – EL, IEP, W
Jefferson ES Targeted – FRL
King ES Comprehensive
Lovejoy ES Targeted – AA, EL
Madison ES Met
McKinley ES Targeted – FRL
Monroe ES Targeted – EL, IEP
Moore ES Comprehensive
Morris ES Targeted – EL, IEP
Moulton ES Targeted – EL, IEP
Oak Park ES Met
Park Avenue ES Targeted – IEP
Perkins ES Targeted – IEP
Phillips ES Met
Pleasant Hill ES Met
River Woods ES Targeted – AA
Samuelson ES Met
South Union ES Targeted – EL, FRL, IEP
Stowe ES Targeted – H
Studebaker ES Met
Walnut Street ES Met
Willard ES Targeted – IEP
Windsor ES Met
Wright ES Met
Brody MS Targeted – IEP & AA
Callanan MS Targeted – IEP, EL, FRL, AA
Goodrell MS Comprehensive
Harding MS Comprehensive
Hiatt MS Comprehensive
Hoyt MS Targeted – EL
McCombs MS Targeted – AA, IEP
Meredith MS Targeted – AA, IEP
Merrill MS Met
Weeks MS Targeted – AA, IEP
East HS Targeted – AA, EL, FRL, H, IEP, W
Hoover HS Targeted – AA, IEP
Lincoln HS Targeted – IEP
North HS Targeted – AA, EL, IEP
Roosevelt HS Targeted – IEP
Scavo Alt HS Not enough data for Iowa School Performance Profiles
Orchard Place School Not enough data for Iowa School Performance Profiles
Ruby Van Meter Not enough data for Iowa School Performance Profiles


  • IEP = Students with Disabilities
  • FRL = Low Socioeconomic Status
  • EL = English Learners
  • AA = Black/African American
  • W = White
  • H = Hispanic/Latino