School Board hears of upcoming school data

NEW ULM — The District 88 Board of Education heard a school data presentation from Director of Learning Services Paul Henn at a study session Thursday night.

In late August, Henn said, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will lift its embargo on statewide and individual school district data accumulated during the 2018-2019 school year. The data, known as the North Star Accountability Report, is a comprehensive report containing specific information on districts such as testing scores, student progress and graduation rates.

The accountability report contains four indicators that the state uses to review a district’s progress in a single school year, Henn said. The four indicators, labeled as student achievement, student progress, graduation rates and specific attendance are used to measure where a school district stands with its progression.

Within the student achievement indicator, scoring is based on the district’s MCA testing data for reading and math. The student progress indicator measures how students move through all four levels of proficiencies.

Henn said Minnesota and the MDE uses the student progress indicator as growth measure for schools.

“That indicator for me is quickly becoming the most telling of the indicators because it gives us a look of where kids are at and where we can target more specifically some different supports whether that be intervention supports or enrichment supports,” Henn said.

He said student progress is the only indicator that uses an index score whereas the others use percentages.

Henn said while he couldn’t provide specific building data because of the embargo, he could still report improvements were made across the district during the last school year.

At Washington Learning Center and Jefferson Elementary, Henn said Title One reading experienced growth and academic progress with only one student experiencing a shortfall in an area of proficiency.

He said WLC and Jefferson are adding the new “Superkids” and “Read Side by Side” English Learning Arts (ELA) curriculum to continue to move results forward across all grade levels. The school board approved the ELA curriculum and literacy plan during its school board meeting last month.

“We hope that Superkids and Read Side by Side is that next trigger to help that bubble really move into those proficiencies,” he said.

At the middle school, Henn said seasonal STAR testing has continued to provide staff with strong achievement data through progress monitoring.

He said ACT writing scores at the high school made strong trend gains over the past three years and it continues to be one the high school’s main areas of emphasis.

“So this is kind of a quick update,” Superintendent Jeff Bertrang said. “We can’t give you data that you want to see because there’s an embargo. Once it’s no longer embargoed, then we walk through how this is going to work, what we did and how we’re going to push forward.”

The embargo on statewide and district data for the 2018-2019 school year will be lifted late-August.

The next regular school board meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, July 25, in the district boardroom at 414 S. Payne St.

Gage Cureton can be emailed at gcureton@nujournal.com