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Scholastic Improvement Still A Concern

By Staff | Jul 26, 2012

Almost, but not quite.

Members of the Emmetsburg Community School Board learned some less than exciting news last week regarding testing of student progress.

“We’ve received the preliminary Annual Yearly Progress report from the Iowa Department of Education,” noted Emmetsburg Superintendent of Schools John Joynt during the July board meeting on July 18. “We remain deficient in math and reading at the Middle School and are deficient in Math and Reading at West Elementary. But, our high schoolers did meet the AYP goals.”

The Annual Yearly Progress Report, which is part of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act, measures the achievement of students through scores of standardized testing. Over the past few years, the Emmetsburg schools have made a concerted effort to improve testing results and scores through increased emphasis on reading and mathematics.

“One of the things we need to remember as we look at these reports is that last year, our AYP was measured on the basis of our scores from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. This year, we switched to the Iowa Assessments, which were an entirely different test. Several of our staff felt the new tests weren’t a true assessment, because some of the areas thy cover we haven’t implemented through the Iowa CORE.”

In all of the areas that the AYP?indicated Emmetsburg students were deficient, Joynt pointed out that the deficiency is very slight.

“I know our staff was disappointed when our standardized test scores came back, because they have worked very hard in putting emphasis on our reading and math skills at all levels,”?Joynt added. “But, all of this is driven by the No Child Left Behind Act, and that requires 100 percent compliance by 2014. Right now, 82 percent of the schools across the nation have not met their AYP goals like us.”

Board member Karla Anderson asked what the AYP goal results meant to the district.

“Our Middle School remains a School In Need of Assistance, as we were last year,”?Joynt noted, “and West Elementary is on a Watch List for the Federal Department of Education.”

“I guess looking at all this, I would be really concerned if the same test had lower results,”?Board President BJ Schany said. “But when we’ve changed tests, we can’t be sure that isn’t part of the difference.”

Joynt agreed. “We’re still trying to figure out the Iowa CORE and what has to be done to meet it, but the whole state is struggling with the Iowa CORE.”

In other business, the board approved the resignation of school nurse Catie Ehlert, who is moving from the community. Also accepted was the resignation of Missy Birkey from her Freshman Softball coaching position.

“Dallas Naig has resigned from his new position as Transportation Director and has requested to be reinstated to his former custodial position, and I would recommend you accept his request,”?Joynt told the board. “Dallas made a decision that he would rather remain where he was at, and he has been with the district many years and is a valued employee.”

The board accepted Joynt’s recommendation and approved the request.

Also approved was the employment of Stephanie Baker as a half-time Special Education and Title I Reading instructor at the Catholic School.

Also approved were Bruce Nelson, Marc Riley, Jeremy Zeigler and Rick Jones as volunteer assistant football coaches.