District 518 reviews report on curriculum, achievementWORTHINGTON — Tammy Timko, District 518’s coordinator of teaching and learning, presented the district’s annual report on curriculum, instruction and student achievement at the instructional committee’s Wednesday meeting.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Tammy Timko, District 518’s coordinator of teaching and learning, presented the district’s annual report on curriculum, instruction and student achievement at the instructional committee’s Wednesday meeting.
The report provides some context to the district’s failure to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward federal student proficiency goals in reading and math — half of all Minnesota schools met with the same fate — and summarizes other assessments, such as international math and science tests and ACT exams, where Minnesota students have traditionally performed well.
Committee member Steve Schnieder, who also serves on the general board of education, expressed his frustration with No Child Left Behind policy.
“Is it explained that it is set up to fail?” he asked about the report. It reads “As we approach (the 2013-2014 school year), the yearly state benchmark, known as AYP, is increased. Subsequently, AYP status becomes harder for schools/districts to reach.” Also, AYP reports don’t track one group’s progress over time. Instead, each class is tested individually at certain grade levels, with their success or failure determining AYP status.
The report also explains the GRAD assessments (Graduation Required Assessments for Diploma): 2010 graduates will be the first class required to pass the assessments in writing, reading and math in order to receive their diplomas, although there are remediation options for those who fail. The greatest discrepancy in percentage of students passing the GRAD assessments is in the area of reading: 57 percent of district students passed in 2009, compared to 78 percent at the state level.
The state accountability portion of the report breaks down student proficiency by subgroup and also shows a district-wide year-to-year comparison.
“We’ve stayed fairly stable in past years, but there are some areas that seem to be weak,” Timko said. Forty-five percent of students were proficient in math in 2009, compared with 49 percent in 2008 and 2007. In reading, proficiency was 55 percent in 2007, 59 percent in 2008 and 58 percent this year.
The report outlines improvement plans, both at the district and school level. For example, Prairie Elementary will expand its Response to Intervention program (which supports struggling students) to include third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, instead of just kindergarten through second-grade students.
Additional Gifted and Talented options could also being considered.
“We’re trying to make sure we give opportunities during the school day specifically for children to explore (areas of interest),” reported Prairie Elementary Principal Paul Besel.
Finally, the report reviews other indicators for school success, including testing of incoming kindergarteners to measure school readiness, extracurricular participation and parent involvement.
“We have a very good turnout of parents at conferences, especially considering many do not speak English,” Timko said. In 2008, 93 percent of Prairie parents attended conferences.
The district’s ACT composite score is 22.4, just below the state average of 22.7.
“We’re still holding on to those kids who do want to go to college and giving them the education for that,” Timko said. The complete report will eventually be available on the district’s Web site.
In other business, the committee:
- Discussed the possible addition of a social worker position and a special education/SERVS facilitator to help with the transition to a new financial accounting system.
- Discussed the possible development of a robotics program for students interested in science. Agreed to a preliminary investigation into cost and level of interest in such a program. Equipment costs can start at about $20,000.
- Received a CIMP (Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process) report, which includes student demographics and past performance information, in addition to identifying goals for adequate yearly progress and graduation targets in the 2009-2010 school year.
- Discussed the possibility of using a consultant to develop the district’s strategic plan, a “report card” for the district, separate from that released by the state, and refine continuous improvement plans at the building level.
- Learned the Immigrant Law Center may begin using space in the West Learning Center, an issue that has been tabled until October’s full board meeting.