Administrators in the Monett R-1 School District presented improvement plans for each campus at the November meeting of the Board of Education.
Each of the proposals focused on improving student achievement. Staff development and retention also ranked as priorities.
Principal Susie Gasser indicated faculty hopes to increase the number of second graders qualifying as improving on the Terra Nova test by 5 percent in both reading and math. An ambitious goal seeks to see first graders increase their baseline math scores from 56 to 80 percent on the average.
The new developmental reading assessment test is in use for second through sixth grades. The test shows if a child is reading at a level expected for his or her grade and offers specifics on where the child may be lacking, so the teacher can take corrective steps. Gasser targeted growth in reading for first graders to improve on average by at least halfway through the school year.
Gasser hoped to retain 90 percent of the certified staff, 40 of 44 teachers, for the coming school year. A major emphasis continued to focus on faculty participation in the professional learning community (PLC), data analysis on student performance and team building efforts with colleagues.
Central Park Elementary
Principal Annette Cozort provided specific numbers for the kind of test performance faculty wants to improve. In communication arts, she wants to see 28 students move from basic scores on the state tests to the higher proficient level and lower the number scoring below basic by four. In math, the goal is to move 48 students from basic to proficient performance and reduce the number below basic by six.
Strategies include analyzing the data on student performance gathered in the annual state tests and applying intervention for all students to improve their learning. Preliminary tests provided by the Reading Street program and a minimum of three tests in math during the year will further show how students have grasped their lessons.
One of the goals calls for providing interpreters for all school activities. Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann said the district has done this for years on most activities where parents participate. Germann hoped bringing more interpreters will provide a better opportunity for parents who may not fully grasp the language to enjoy coming to school and interacting with their children.
Principal Peg Bryan hoped to see a 10 percent improvement in state test scores for all the subgroups in the school in both communication arts and math. Another goal called for promoting a safe and productive learning environment that would increase positive student social and academic behavior, thus reducing office referrals by 25 percent.
At each of the elementary campuses, principals emphasized the professional learning community. Networking among faculty remains a key to providing support, collaboration on assessing students and correcting learning shortfalls, done during the regular school day.
Monett Middle School
Principal Dr. Jonathan Apostol targeted increasing the number of students scoring at or above the proficient level on all areas of the state test by 5 percent in the current year. Moreover, Apostol wants to reduce the percentage of students getting D's and F's by 10 percent per quarter.
Germann said the middle school falls between two approaches. The high school uses end-of-course exams to show if a student has an essential skill or not. The more traditional approach for lower grades has students performing a number of homework assignments then taking a test with failure riding on that test. Homework and behavior become more pivotal in failing grades.
Germann said the middle school teachers will be working on merging the two strategies while resolving failure issues.
Monett High School
Principal David Steward has the top goal of raising end-of-course exam index scores above state averages and rank the school in the top three of the Big 8 Conference this year. Steward also wants to see college entrance exam scores and subject area scores at or above the state average by the 2011-12 school year. He targeted advance placement scores to rise to where 45 percent of AP exams will qualify for college credits by the 2012-13 school year.
One difficulty seen at the high school has been a graduation rate below 85 percent in recent years, under the state average. Steward hopes to raise the rate to 90 percent by the graduating class of 2013.
Germann said conversations with other schools about how they have sustained a higher graduation rate have shown some problems come from attitude and others from a lack of alternative education options. The district has resources available from the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) as an option for students who may lose hope or interest,
Also, the state legislature has now determined the mandatory attendance age in school should move from 16 to 17. Germann hoped having students longer would provide more chances to overcome a lack of interest. Steward emphasized using strategies from High Schools That Work as further ways to help students excel.
Both Steward and Career Center Director Brad Hanson reported that developing more dual credit opportunities is a priority as a way to motivate students and give them a head start on college.
Hanson wants to see more than 67 percent of students completing Career Center classes pass the technical attainment tests in their area of study, an increase of 5 percent over the previous two-year average. He targeted improving the SWACC student graduation and completion rate to 95 percent by May 2013.
Completing accreditation efforts with the North Center Accreditation program continues as a primary goal for the Career Center.