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Iowa School Report Cards Reviewed

By Staff | Jan 25, 2018

A?review and discussion about the recent Iowa School Report Card for the Emmetsburg Community Schools occupied the January meeting of the Emmetsburg School Board on Wednesday, Jan. 17. The board also acted on a pair of personnel issues and issued a contract during the session.

The recently released Iowa School Report cards were examined for each of the three schools by the respective building principals. In looking at the West Elementary report, Principal Joe Carter noted that the current overall rating score increased to 59.8, up from last year’s 56.2 rating.

“Even though we did score higher at West this year, three to eight percent improvement in our math and reading, we are still considered as needing improvement,” Carter admitted. “The number is up but it’s still not where we want it to be. We are encouraged by how we are closing the gaps for our students in the Individual Educational Programs, Free and Reduced Lunch programs and English Language Learner programs, but when we look at the state as a whole, there is a tremendous struggle in education state-wide for those programs, not just in Emmetsburg.”

Middle School Principal Tracie Christiansen noted that this year’s rating at the Middle School was 53.4, which also was considered as needing improvement.

“When we look at these reports, we have to remember that the numbers are not based on the Iowa Assessment testing that we use,” Christensen told the board. “We have been making changes to our classes to better meet state requirements that could affect the Report Card.”

“Our Iowa Assessment results are down, and we are working very hard with our students to help them understand the importance of those assessments,” Christensen added. “Sometimes, I’m sure the kids feel like they are being assessed to death.”

The High School rating of 63.5 earned an Acceptable rating in the latest report card, according to High School Principal Mike Embrock.

“While we’re pleased to have the Acceptable rating, our next goal is to increase our rating to Commendable, which would be 1.9 points higher than where we currently are,” Embrock explained. “The results show that we’re seeing some slight increases in our Iowa Assessment scores, which is a good thing, and we would certainly hope they can continue to improve our scores, because our goal is to always work towards 100 percent proficiency.”

“One thing we need to keep in mind is that state testing continues to be a moving target in the Legislature,” Embrock added.

“Everything being measured in these school report cards will change with Legislation,” Carter agreed.

“Will these report cards go away? The answer is no,” Superintendent Amanda Schmidt noted.

“Is there anything the school board can do to help the administration? Teachers?” asked Board President Jane Hoyman. “Is it a matter of more funding?”

“The Elementary needs are met,” Carter replied. “It’s just a matter of getting kids on board with what we’re trying to do.”

“For us at the Middle School, its finding the programs that best meet our needs and implementing them,” Christensen said.

“If you could help with progress monitoring, it would be great,” commented Sarah Brugman, a Middle School faculty member. “That takes away from my instructional contact time. Kids like instant feedback that I can’t always provide if I’m trying to do the monitoring.”

“I’d just ask you continue to support the teachers and the administration,” Embrock replied. “The teachers have been very innovative and moving towards the positive growth mindset.”

“It seems like it’s always a struggle at the middle school level,” observed Board Member Dan Chism. “I’m guessing its just the age that they’re at.”

“I think a lot of it also starts at the home,” noted Board Member Scott Kibbie.

“Getting the kids to care is probably the biggest challenge for us,” agreed Christensen, as the conversation came to a close.

In other business, Superintendent Schmidt presented the board with resignations from Jason Behrens from his position as High School Vocal Music Director and Donna Kos as High School Spanish instructor. Both resignations would be effective at the end of the current school year and were recommended for approval.

On a motion by Chism that was seconded by Kibbie, the resignations were accepted on a 5-0 vote, with Board Members Kathy Roethler and Pete Hamilton absent and not voting.

Additionally, a contract was issued to Arik Kerr for Eighth Grade Boys Track on a motion by Kibbie with a second from Board Member Aaron Dietrich. The motion was also approved on a 5-0 vote, with Roethler and Hamilton absent and not voting.