Reading scores came in for Dolores elementary and secondary students, with overall expected results.
At a regular board meeting for the Dolores School District RE-4A on Feb. 14, elementary and secondary leaders reported longitudinal reading scores based on an assessment provided by the Northwest Evaluation Association and evaluated against a national norm. Both school sites presented data fairly consistent with previous years’ performance.
The NWEA test measures student reading growth, tracking individual students over several years.The national norm is based on a random sample of students from about 1,000 schools, while the Dolores data included the results from all students.
While NWEA scores are intended to be continuous, without a firm maximum, the recent national and Dolores scores didn’t exceed 225.
According to elementary Principal Gary Livick, grades one through four performed well, although second-grade scores dipped, which Livick attributed to a changing test format that happens at that age.
First-graders scored 175, a few points above the national norm, while Dolores second-graders performed just shy of the norm of 184. Third- and fourth-graders were fairly aligned with the norm, scoring about 196 and 204, respectively.
Fifth- and sixth-grade scores dipped below the national norm – with fifth grade’s score of 205 about five points under the national average. Sixth-grade students scored about 210, compared with a national norm of around 215. This was usual at the sixth-grade level, but new for fifth-graders, Livick said, causing him to look closer into the data and test administration.
“There were nine young men in one classroom, all friends, who took less than 20 minutes to do the test, and their scores just dropped like a stone,” he said. “So they dragged everybody down.”
Because they were usually high-performing students, he said their scores reflected a behavior issue rather than performance.
The sixth-grade dip below the norm was usual, he said, but this year, students’ performance was closer to the national norm than it had been in some time.
Secondary Principal Jenifer Hufman presented reading data for students in grades seven through 10. The test was not normed for students in 11th and 12th grades.
Reading scores were just below the norm for students in seventh, eighth and 10th grades, Hufman said, though 10th scores were fairly aligned with the national average at around 225.
“I’m wondering how much of that is my poor choice of administration time,” she said. “Because we did give it a week before Christmas in middle school, when the high school was taking finals.”
She pointed to data tools offered by NWEA that track student engagement on tests based on their response time. For example, if a student starts rushing through a test section, it can indicate that he or she is disengaged and guessing.
Before the test is administered again, Hufman said that she would be having conversations with specific students demonstrating high percentages of disengaged response times in their scores. However, deciding when is the best time to administer the test still poses somewhat of a quandary.
At the middle school level, 52 percent of students made honor roll for the second quarter, while 62 percent of high school students earned honor roll for first semester.
Behaviorally, for elementary students, 80 percent of all discipline referrals were handed out to male students, while 33 percent of referrals were distributed to fifth-graders. At the high school level, Hufman said that things were going well, and she highlighted some of their social emotional learning initiatives and suicide prevention programming, of particular importance in light of the recent suicides by students in the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District.
Testing and accountability arose again later in the meeting, when Superintendent Phil Kasper asked the board to consider a possible new job description for a new administrator of curriculum and assessments, to be responsible for delivering an annual action plan to the superintendent based on findings from the curriculum audit.
“The academics cannot be left to chance anymore in Dolores schools. ... Having someone responsible to the board and the superintendent for moving this forward, not for a short time period, but again, continuously. It’s the way we do business, focus on curriculum, improve curriculum,” Kasper said.
Other businessBoard members selected the names for the superintendent interview committees that will assist in selecting a superintendent to assume the post in the upcoming school year.A middle school government representative updated the board on the progress of a school fountain project.The board approved school calendars for the next three years. Directors were presented with three possible options, and ultimately selected the one that had the majority support from the calendar committee.The vote was 3-2, with board vice president Casey McClellan and treasurer Lenetta Shull voting nay. Shull had concerns about the phrasing of professional development days as opposed to teacher workdays, and McClellan felt that the 165 student days on the calendar wasn’t enough.
The board unanimously approved $550 to support Operation Graduation, a community program that aims to provide a safe, substance-free celebration for seniors on graduation night.They also approved two $100 donations for middle school girls basketball uniforms, bills and financial statements for the period ending Jan. 31, and the hiring elementary paraprofessional Tanya Castillo and substitute teachers Bentley Monk and Jerrod Simons.
The board unanimously approved a sale agreement with the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services, as BOCES moves from Dolores to Cortez.RE-4A will purchase the former office space from BOCES for a total $57,250.
Board members approved a list of facility change orders from the district’s department of transportation.During executive session, the board conducted an evaluation for the firstname.lastname@example.org