School Improvement Plan Parent Night
February 17, 2011
6:00 PM (pizza and soda pop served from 5:30 to 6:00)
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT AGENDA HERE. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this document)
Welcome, Parents and Teachers….thank you so much for coming tonight! Special thanks to the PTO for providing pizza and child care.
The reason for this meeting is to discuss the fact that our school is on “Academic Probation”. This is the first year we have been on Academic Probation, and it’s not a good place to be. Just four years ago our school was ranked “Exemplary”. But our ISTEP scores have declined since then, and that (the ISTEP) is the main criteria on which school ranking in the elementary grades is based. (Student attendance is a secondary factor.) Our goal is to attain Exemplary status again, and to keep it….but we can’t do it without parental support.
There are serious ramifications for schools that do not improve from Academic Probation. If a school remains on Probation for six years, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) takes over management of the school. This can involve significant personnel changes and new and stringent measures mandated by the IDOE. I’m sure we all agree, we don’t want that to happen to our school. Therefore, we have to develop new strategies to make sure our students perform better on the ISTEP test.
Students in grades 3 -6 take the ISTEP, which is given in two parts. Applied Skills is the part that requires students to give written responses to the math and English questions. Dates for the Applied Skills test are Feb. 28 through Mar. 9. (However, we will not do any testing on Mondays.) Multiple Choice is the second part of the test, which is scheduled from April 25 to May 4. Students in grade 3 are tested in English/Language Arts and Math. Students in grades 4 -6 are also tested in those subjects. In addition, 4th and 6th graders are tested in Science, and 5th graders are tested in Social Studies. (Note: Students also take ISTEP in 7th and 8th grade. When they reach 9th grade students have to pass what is called End-of-Course Assessments [ECA’s] in English 10, Algebra I and Biology I.)
We are going to try something new this year to help motivate the students for ISTEP. They will earn $5.00 for passing one part of the test. If they pass any two parts of the test, they will earn $10.00. The money will be paid when we get the test results, which should be in late May. (The DOE no longer provides paper copies of test results for parents. Instead, you will receive a letter [in the mail] that includes a pass code so you can go online to obtain your child’s test results. Please look for that letter in late May or early June. Call Mrs. Vapor if you don’t receive it, or if you don’t have access to the Internet, and she will provide you with a copy.)
We have a lot of important material to discuss tonight, so we will use this step-by-step agenda so we don’t forget anything important. This agenda will also help parents navigate the Department of Education (DOE) website on your own. After we spend time exploring the DOE website together, we will have an open forum to share questions, concerns and/or suggestions. If we feel we still have more to cover, we can schedule another parent night.
Let’s start at the home page of the Indiana Department of Education (www.doe.in.gov ).
- What factors determine how the Indiana Department of Education ranks schools for accountability:
- under “IDOE Home” (left side menu bar), click on “School Performance”
- from the drop-down menu, click on “School Accountability” – explore briefly
- return to “School Performance” and click on “School Data” (from the drop-down menu)
- under the “DOE Compass”, click on “Student Performance” (tab on top menu bar) - explore
- return to “IDOE Home”, “School Performance”, then select “Growth Model”:
This is the first year the Department of Education (DOE) has used the Growth Model. The Growth Model tracks each individual student’s academic growth from one year to the next year. Prior to development of the Growth Model, school accountability was solely based on ISTEP (specifically, the number of students who “Did Not Pass” any parts of the assessment) and student attendance. Now, the Growth Model will be an added component for school accountability.
Let’s look a little deeper:
- Click on the first link. This page shows Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
- Click on the second link and enter Reelsville Elementary, then click “Search” and click on “Reelsville Elementary” from the drop-down menu. This shows our school’s overall rank on the Growth Model (based on last year’s ISTEP). You can click on either Mathematics or English Language Arts.
ü The top right quadrant is where schools want to be (“Higher Growth, Higher Achievement”).
ü The bottom left quadrant is the worst category (“Lower Growth, Lower Achievement”). As you can see, our school currently ranks in the worst category in both subject areas.
- High Growth is from the 66th to 99th percentile.
- Typical Growth is from the 35th to 65th percentile.
- Low Growth is from the 1st to 34th percentile.
- Let’s take a minute to look at the ISTEP link. From the DOE homepage, along the left side menu bar, click on “ISTEP+/Assessments”. This link is useful because you can see sample questions and resources that can help your child become familiar with the test.
- Briefly look at the categories under “ISTEP+ 3-8”, and make special note of “Resources”; this is where you can find practice samples.
- As mentioned earlier, when your child reaches 9th grade, you will want to be familiar with the “ECA’s” link, which also includes samples.
- Finally, we need to briefly talk about the new reading assessment under development, IREAD,
which will be given to all third graders in the spring of 2012 (this year’s 2nd graders will be the
first students required to take this assessment). There is a lot of talk about just how the DOE is
going to enforce the mandate. Preliminary information says students will have to pass this
reading assessment in third grade in order to be promoted to fourth grade, and that they can be
retained for up to two years, based on this assessment. We will have to await further details from the DOE.
Now that you have an overview of the situation, let’s shift gears.
II. What we are doing to get out of Academic Probation and return to the “Exemplary” rating we
attained four years ago:
- Utilizing data to drive instruction, including: Acuity, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), mCLASS Math.
- Implementing Saxon Math as it was designed to be taught (this includes mandatory daily practice drills).
- Implementing the 90-Minute Reading Block in grades K-3. This process emphasizes the fundamentals of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension.
- Providing ISTEP remediation for current 4th, 5th and 6th grade students who did not pass ISTEP last year.
- Scheduling “spirit days’ and special events (e.g. Read-In) so students will see that learning is fun.
- Utilizing research to drive instruction (with emphasis on Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College, by Doug LeMov)
- Renewing our commitment to our Professional Learning Community (based on the research of DuFour and Eaker).
- Providing specialized professional development:
- Inservice by Dr. Todd Whitaker – ISU professor and nationally recognized expert in school improvement
- Subs hired to provide teachers with time to collaborate on our School Improvement Plan.
III. What we need parents to do to help us help your children succeed:
- Most important, partner with us in supporting your children.
- Take an active role in helping your child outside the school day. Let your child know you value education, and that you expect him to put forth his best effort each and every day.
- Take advantage of programs the school is offering (remediation, tutoring, clubs).
- Volunteer to help with programs during and after the school day, if you are able to do so.
- Stay informed by reading the school newsletter that is sent home each Friday, as well as the classroom newsletters that are sent home either weekly or monthly.
- Attend parent nights: School Improvement, Title I, PTO meetings.
- Respond to conduct reports, progress reports and report cards, being sure to go over the results with your child so you can discuss what she is doing well and what areas need improvement.
- Pay a lot of attention to your child’s ISTEP report when it is available in the spring. Go over the report with your child.
- Use online resources or paper/pencil resources to help your child in areas where help is needed.
- Send your child to school with a positive outlook. Avoid stressful mornings by having things ready to go the night before.
- Make sure your child has plenty of rest and eats a nutritious breakfast.
- Talk with your child daily about school. Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”. Try to dig deep and find out what is on his mind.
- Stay in touch with your child’s teacher and/or the principal.
- Know that you are important to the school staff.
- Share your ideas with us.
IV. Open Forum – Q & A
“With every right comes responsibility,
by taking responsibility we make our school a better place.”
(Angie Nichols saw this in a magazine. It rang true, and she shared that
it should be applied to all of us: parents, staff, administrators and students.)