Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

Washington Community School Progress Report

By Mike Jorgensen | Aug 09, 2012

The Washington Community School District has received the notification of results for the 2012-2013 Annual Yearly Progress Report. These results are based on the annual assessment given to students during the fall. In the past, the results have been based on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, but 2011-2012 saw a new assessment administered. The results that we received are connected to the No Child Left Behind Legislation. Iowa had requested a waiver from the No Child Left Behind for the 2012-2013 school year, but the request was denied, so we are still under the requirements of this legislation.

The results for the school district are a mixed bag. One of the frustrations that we have with the No Child Left Behind Legislation is that school districts are not on a level playing field. If a district has 30 or more students in a grade level in a specific sub-group, the results of those sub-groups are also subjected to the same trajectories of performance and can place a district or School in Need of Assistance (SINA). For the past school year, Lincoln Elementary and the Junior High were considered SINA due to results of sub-groups and not the overall population. The other concern is that it doesn’t mater what sub-group puts you on that status, if you make that correction but a different sub-group falls under the standard, you remain a SINA school. We have an example of that this year. The Junior High had been identified as SINA due to the performance of Hispanic students in reading last year. The Junior High sub-group of Hispanic reading met the requirements this year but missed on the low socio-economic standard.. As a result, they remain a SINA school. Smaller schools do not have to meet these standards as the fact that most of them have fewer than 30 students in these sub-groups. This is one of the flaws in the soon to be defunct No Child Left Behind legislation.

In order to be identified as a SINA school, a district must fall below the trajectory two consecutive years. In order to come off this list, you must have two consecutive years at or above the trajectory. The first year you are below the standard, you go on a watch list. The district results include placement on the SINA list, continuation of SINA status and the removal of watch or SINA status.

As a school district, we have done very well in addressing the reading standards. Five years ago, the buildings in the district were well below the standards in reading. It would appear that the new reading curriculum and emphasis on these standards have paid off in the results. On the other hand, it would appear that the district has slipped in their performance in math. We have already begun to address this concern with the purchase of new Math curriculum Prek-eighth grade. This new curriculum will be in place this fall. The other consideration is the fact that with the new assessment being used, new concepts that previously had not been assessed were introduced and instruction has now been addressed to adjust to these changes.

The district entered the 2011-2012 as being on the watch list as a district in math and having met reading objectives. We continue meeting the reading objectives in 2012-2013 and have been removed from the watch list in math. Both of those things are good news. The news is also good for the high school, which had entered the 2011-2012 school year on the watch list for both reading and math. They have been removed from both watch list for 2012-2013.

The Junior High (Middle School) will remain as a SINA school for 2012-2013. As mentioned earlier, the sub-group that put the junior high on the SINA list initially, met the standards, but because we fell short in another sub-group, we will remain on the list. Overall, our Junior High Students did not meet the criteria in reading but did so in math. The low socio-economic sub-group missed the criteria for both reading and math so the Junior High (Middle School) will be SINA Year 2 in reading and on the watch list in math.

Lincoln Elementary will also remain as a SINA School for 2012-2013. In 2011-2012, Lincoln remained on the SINA list for the third year only because the sub-group of IEP students missed trajectory in Math. Lincoln students overall as well as each of the sub-groups came up short in math this past year. As a result, they will be SINA Year 4. Lincoln Elementary used to be a SINA school in reading and had earned their way off that list last year. Unfortunately, they will return to the watch list as they missed the criteria in reading last year as well. It will be interesting to see how grade realignment will affect their results for next year.

Stewart Elementary was looking for a second consecutive year of scoring above the line in Reading to remove the SINA status in that area. They were successful and have been removed from the SINA status for 2012-2013. That is certainly an accomplishment we are pleased with. We are still working at Stewart to improve the status in math. We fell short overall in one of the sub-groups and so will remain as a SINA, year 3 in math. We were in delay status last year, needed a second consecutive year above the line to be removed from SINA. Unfortunately we did not reach our goal the second year, which puts us back on SINA.

We know we still have work ahead of us. We have done a good job of addressing the district needs in reading and need some of the same attention in math. We believe the grade realignment is better suited for our district and could improve results. We will continue to strive for improvement in student achievement, regardless of whether we are under No Child Left Behind or any other system that Iowa puts in place to replace it.

 

 

 

 

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