By: Kathryn Vance
Finances and budgets haven’t been something to celebrate over the past few years at any public school in Indiana. But for the second year in a row the corporation as a whole has made Adequate Yearly Progress under federal No Child Left Behind standards.
That is something to celebrate.
Out of the 292 school districts in the state, NA-FC SC ranked tenth for overall improvement in math scores on ISTEP+, according to The Tribune.
For AYP the school district is measured on how much they improve ISTEP+ scores.
All but three schools in the corporation made AYP, the exceptions were NAHS, FCHS and Scribner Middle School. However, these schools still improved their ISTEP+ scores from previous years. Their scores increased by 4.4, 6.9 and 7.5 percent, respectively.
Math department head Mrs. Janet Hollingsworth attributes the improvement in scores to dedication by everyone involved.
“[I’d attribute it] to the focused hard work by both our teachers and our students,” she said.
The district came in twelfth for improvement of students passing in both math and English/language arts portions of ISTEP+.
“I was very pleased to hear our English scores had improved so much,” said English department head Mr. Nathan McGarvey. “It’s been a while since we were recognized for doing something well.”
A new teaching method introduced last year that some think helped these scores is the common formative assessment. Teachers teaching the same courses followed the same curriculum guide, gave the same assessments, and met each Wednesday to compare notes about what was working in classes and what was not.
“Teachers collaborating every week and getting the most important things that kids need to know has helped a lot,” said Principal Mrs. Janet Page.
Superintendent Bruce Hibbard also accredits much of the success to the CFAs.
“It helps knowing what kids still need to know,” he said. “Students are staying more focused with the nine-week cycle assessments.”
While Hibbard may be impressed with these scores, Principal Mrs. Janet Page is more hopeful toward future scores next year.
In 2009, the first year of spring ISTEP testing, only 68.5 percent of students in the corporation passed the math portion of ISTEP. This year, 86.8 percent passed.
In the English/language arts portion of the test, 69.3 percent of students passed in 2009. In 2011, 81.5 percent passed the test.
“While these scores are improved,” Page says. “They shouldn’t be considered ‘great’ just yet.”
Hibbard has goals for the upcoming years to get all freshmen learning at a freshman level.
“I hope we’ll be more improved than we are currently,” he said. “But this is definitely a step in the right direction.”