SIDNEY — Three components of Sidney City School’s district report card were reviewed during Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting.
Curriculum Coordinator Brooke Gessler said that numerous factors impacted the district’s report card.
“Sometimes there are obstacles that impact student learning,” said Gessler. “Some of these variables we can control and others we cannot. When one factor is influences, so are multiple others.”
Factors that impact student learning, she said, can include the student’s daily schedule, class size, professional development, attendance, legislators and motivation.
Gessler focused her presentation on achievement, gap closing and K-3 literacy. These are three areas which the district needs to improve its score, she said.
“They’re not pretty numbers, but we’re going to own it,” said Gessler, of the district’s “D” in achievement (meeting 22 of 33 standards), the “F” (47.6 percent) in gap closing and the “D” (42.5 percent) in K-3 literacy.
In K-3 literacy, said Gessler, it’s the district’s responsibility to identify students as on-track or not on-track for their reading level. If a student is not on-track then he/she are placed on a reading improvement plan.
In Sidney, K-3 students are given fall benchmark tests in AIMS web, an online reading diagnostic, by Sept. 30 to determine their on/not on-track status. Third grade students take a state reading assessment in December that determines if his/her reading promotion score is met and those test results determine if he/she is on/not on-track status for third-graders. All third-graders must read at grade level or they are not promoted to the fourth grade.
The third-graders can take the state test in the spring for another chance to reach/exceed the promotion score and in reading and aim for proficient or higher.
The report card, said Gessler, takes the total number of students on-track and divides it by the total number of students not on-track to determine the percentage for the grade.
The district had 220 K-2 students not on-track for the 2015-16 school year. They will factor into the 2015-16 report card for fall 2016 on/not on-track status.
Instruction and assessment, said Gessler impacts K-3 literacy. The district, she said, is using data-driven dialogue to help improve the district’s reading score.
She met with K-4 principals on Feb. 18 to focus on the K-3 literacy data released by the state. They reviewed spreadsheets of current third-grade students on/not on-track history, AIMS web reports and K-3 literacy district building data.
“We used a strategy called Fishbone to identify the factor areas that impact K-3 literacy,” said Gessler. Those factors, she shared, include collaboration, writing and phonics first under the instruction category. In assessment, items include AIMS, missing data and state tests.
The next step, she said, will be for the K-4 administrators to have a data-driven dialogue with the K-3 teachers. They will create a Fishbone diagram and bring it to the next K-4 meeting, which is set for March 29.
A progress chart for the students, she said, tracks their reading skills and assists the teachers where the students need assistance. Title teachers are being used as literacy coaches in the classroom and also assist with before and afterschool programs.
The achievement portion of the report card deals with the students who were proficient on the state test and student performance for grades 3-12. The performance index is based on the percentage of students scoring in each level. A total of 120 points could be awarded.
Indicators are met is 80 percent of the students hit proficiency levels for grade level content test.
“These were brand new tests except for the third-grade reading,” said Gessler. “The state also increased the number of indicators from 24 to 33.
“American history students were double tested,” she said. “They were counted twice for American history and OGT social students indicator. Students in AP government were not include3d at all.”
The district’s goal, she said, it to hit all indicators and the move students higher in their levels of performance to increase the performance index.
Gap closing, she said, addresses all students’s performance in reading, math and graduation regardless of income, race, ethnicity and disability.
“Points are earned in the following ways,” said Gessler. “one, but having a higher percent proficiency than the goal and two, to improve over last year’s percentage of proficiency, and three, improvement in the percent proficiency between the previous year and current year is greater than or equal to the current year’s gap.”
The district can also earn points for every subgroup where there are at least 30 students. The maximum points is 100 points for each subgroup, she said.
Gessler said the district’s students who have the hardest time are the ones who are still learning English. There are at least seven different languages spoken by students in the district.
Gessler said the district is using an equity audit, which uses current data to determine what academics and discipline look like from a district perspective for the subgroups in the gap closing category.
“We own our data and make no excuses,” said Gessler. “Our focus needs to continue to be on teaching our standards and how to building strong, independent learners despite external factors.”
Gessler will do another presentation on the district’s report card on the March 21 meeting.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.