School Board reviews data on student scoresThe Jamestown Public School Board reviewed more data at Monday’s meeting showing that math and reading scores are improving, regardless of not meeting federal guidelines.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Public School Board reviewed more data at Monday’s meeting showing that math and reading scores are improving, regardless of not meeting federal guidelines.
Federal No Child Left Behind legislation requires districts to have a certain percentage of students meet proficiency levels. Meeting this requirement is called “making Adequate Yearly Progress.”
This district has failed to make AYP for the last two years.
Superintendent Bob Toso showed charted results from the district’s program called Measure of Academic Progress. MAPS scores are available to the district much faster than AYP results.
“It’s descriptive. It’s hardly something you can draw a lot of inference from,” Toso said of the MAPS results.
Still, the results for the last six years — the time the tracking has been done — showed progress in math and reading scores as each class progresses. In the future, students will be tracked as a group from kindergarten to senior year. AYP results for a given group of students are not tracked from year to year; instead, results are compared from each grade level to different students in the same grade level in previous years.
“We’ve made significant improvement over the years but not enough to make AYP,” Toso said.
Gussner, Louis L’Amour and Washington grade schools made AYP. The rest didn’t.
This past year 82 percent of schools nationwide failed to meet AYP. Failing to meet AYP requires that 10 percent of the district’s federal Title 1 funds be used for professional development. That amounts to $73,000 that must be used by JPS this year for professional development.
MAPS scores still showed progress, but not the type that’s required by No Child Left Behind, Toso said.
“You can see that every year as a group, the elementary schools as a grade grow,” he said, “and that’s an important thing to look at.”
Toso also had results from the ACT, a test that is taken by many juniors in high schools across the country.
The average ACT score in Jamestown was 20.22, out of a perfect score of 36. That score is good enough to place Jamestown in the middle of the pack when comparing it to the nine other Class A schools in the state, sans West Fargo, which was not included.
North Dakota also gives a four-year, $1,500 per year scholarship to students who meet benchmarks on the ACT.
In Jamestown 18 percent of students who took the test received the scholarship. Jamestown ranked third for Class A schools, minus West Fargo.
“The reason we don’t have great schools is because we have good schools, and that’s a pretty easy trap to fall into,” Toso said. “… The results are good, we do show steady growth, but we can still do better.”
Later in the meeting the board approved a $5,000 payment to Jamestown College as a cost share for two Chinese professors who have been working with the Talented and Gifted Program and the after-school program at JPS.
The two teachers will put in more than 164 hours of work with those elementary school students by the time the program is over.
The board was receptive to making the payment, even though it wasn’t budgeted for.
Toso suggested the payment, which is about 36 percent of the cost for the two teachers.
“Learning Chinese, whether the culture or the language, is going to be more and more important as we move on in the world,” he said.
Board member Rosemary McDougall said it’s going to be the language the world moves toward in business. She also said it’s a valuable asset for students.
“I think it’s a splendid opportunity that we have for our kids,” McDougall said.
Board member Roy Musland was the only opposition for the payment for the services.
“I think we should not lose sight of the fact that English is still the official language of the United States, and I’d rather see the $5,000 spent on education of the English language,” Musland said.
The motion passed 6-1. Board members Shelly Jystad, Gail Martin, Diane Hanson, Gary Peterson, Greg Allen and McDougall were in favor. Musland was opposed. Board members Heidi Larson and Tanya Ostlie were absent.
Sun writer Ben Rodgers can be reached at (701) 952-8455 or by email at brodgers@ jamestownsun.com