Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1226107

Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

School board approves goals

By Xiomara Levsen | Aug 14, 2014

The Washington School Board approved their goals for the 2014-15 fiscal year and learned the district would be placed on the district in need of assistance (DINA) list this year even with reading and math scores improving in the district.
Washington School Board President Eric Turner said he made the revisions to the school board goals for the 2014-15 school year, which the board suggested at its meeting last month.
The four goals proposed included: student achievement goals set specifically for each school building; improving parental involvement by increasing participation from parents on committees; communication by keeping the public informed about the district’s current status with its facilities and future needs; and education climate, which will include a student survey to help determine the level of student well-being and assess past and current data on student safety.
A motion was made to approve the goals. The goals were approved unanimously.
During the curriculum update Washington Community School District’s curriculum director Veta Thode notified the board the district would be listed on the DINA list this year but it’s not due to lack of improvement with reading and math scores.
“I looked at our reading scores — we were higher in all the reading scores but still have not met the trajectory,” Thode said. “Math scores we met the guideline in every grade and every sub group we had to report to or on the watch list for.”
Washington Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said the district was put on the delay list now, which meant every building met the math goals the Department of Education had.
“We’re very, very pleased with this,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen asked Thode by how much the reading scores improved. Thode said it depended on the school building but scores improved anywhere from 2 to 8 percent.
“The next step is to continue what we developed last year,” Thode said. “We had an inclusive SINA [school in need of assistance] plan since we were a SINA5 [five is for the number of years] school. Unfortunately, it was reading.”
Turner asked Thode to explain the difference between SINA and DINA. Thode said the SINA schools were title 1 schools, which were only Lincoln and Stewart Elementary Schools.
Another reason why the district is on the DINA list is because the high school just missed its reading goal, Thode said.
What the district will have to do now is create another plan focusing on reading and writing detailing how they will improve these scores, Thode said.
At the School Administrators of Iowa conference last week, Jorgensen said, assuming nothing changes with the No Child Left Behind Act the conference leaders told everyone they predicted within three years every district in Iowa would be listed on the DINA list because the goal is to have 100 percent achievement.
“So they’re not going to try to change it?” asked school board member Patty Roe.
“That would take intelligence,” Jorgensen said.
Thode said the SINA process itself was a good process because it encouraged growth, which the district has, but no one would achieve the 100 percent.
“It’s kind of ‘good news, bad news,’ ” Thode said. “We are making progress — in math we are doing great. But it’s a label, so we will work at that.”
It was important to point out that even though the district will be on the DINA list, both the reading and math scores improved in all of the district’s buildings, Jorgensen said.
“I think that is really important,” school board member Stephanie Ellingson said. “Not only for us, but it’s important for the kids to know.”
Other items covered at the school board meeting included:
a tour of the newly constructed office area in the bus barn. Washington Community School District transportation director Woody Harden said it was nice to have a lobby area and office area for people to use when needed;
and discussed the superintendent’s goals for the 2014-15 school year. Turner asked if anyone had any changes. Everyone said they were fine. Turner said the goals would probably be listed as an action item on the next agenda.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Washington Middle School on Sept. 10, in the art room.



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