Northmor implements strategy for mandated assessments
By Randa Wagner -
The new state-mandated Reading Diagnostic Assessment that could result in thousands of Ohio third grade students being held back at the end of the year was a primary topic at the September 20 Northmor School Board meeting.
“We are mandated by the Ohio Legislature to pass this policy,” Superintendent Dr. Brent Winand said. “It will require, ultimately, students who do not perform at an established level in reading when they’re in the third grade to be retained. It commits us to putting children into tiers and addressing their needs based on where they’re at.”
Winand said he received an email from thirteen superintendents in northern Ohio who are contacting their legislators and ‘essentially saying, ‘it seems to us prehaps it’s appropriate for parents, teachers and administrators to make decisions regarding whether a child should be retained rather than legislators making a blanket statement.’”
K-4 Principal Becky Oliver reported third grade students would be getting ready to take their reading achievement test for fall on October 2.
Asst. Principal Amanda Albert said she has been working on data connected to the Third Grade Guarantee.
“All students grades K-3 must be assessed in reading diagnostic by Sept. 30,” she explained. “They are assessed on multiple majors. Kindergarten through third grade was done the first week of school and that would not have been possible without Peggy Webb, Sarah Skelton, Dee Yunker and the whole Title I group.”
What they were able to do with the data, she explained, was take a look at all their grade levels and rank them by the 10th, 20th, 50th, 70th, and 90th percent of the grade level.
“Students on the lower level are targeted for the Third Grade Guarantee in the third grade,” she said. “So, we have good data to back up what we’re doing. We’ve also moved to go ahead and get the fifth and sixth grade assessed using the same major in reading comprehension. Then what we’ll have is a K-6 complete flow of data.”
“They’re calling it ‘on track’ or ‘not on track,’ and we have drafted a letter to let the parents know this information,” said Principal Oliver.
“If the school year were over tomorrow, all these children on the lower level (of her chart) would be retained,” added Asst. Principal Albert. “Chances are the ‘cut’ score this year on the OEAA for third grade is going to be a 390, next year they’ll raise the score to 392 and each year it will raise until it reaches 400.”
Oliver said many factors can go into the score: maybe a child is not a good test taker, perhaps they don’t feel well that day, or other factors.
“We’ll have to send written notification to all the parents of K-3 students beginning this year,” said Albert, “so even if you have a kindergartener exhibiting a reading deficiency, you’ll receive a letter saying ‘if this continues, they may be retained.’ This year second graders will fall under all of the mandates of this bill.”
Winand said the third grade guarantee has positive components, requiring a commitment of 90 minutes a day for the children at risk.
“But I’m not totally convinced when the legislators next year have a lot of children retained, and then principal and parents come to us and start talking about their child being retained, it does seem appropriate to give them the legislator’s phone number and say, ‘this was their decision and we’re simply following the mandate they created.’”
Winand said perhaps when the politicians start to perceive the result as ‘votes gained or lost,’ they may want to turn the responsibility back to the parents and teachers and principals.
“No educator stands in opposition to the idea that children should move on if they can’t read,” Winand said. “But you have to take into consideration the growth they’ve made perhaps from kindergarten through the third grade. They may have made great progress from where they started from and, in that case, it may not make sense to automatically retain them.”
A Title I Program Parent Involvement Practice was handed out. Winand explained the practice is not a policy ‘in the books’ but schools that are recipients of Title I funds are required to commit to and pass a policy, promoting and encouraging two way communication between the school and families. The program provides specific opportunities for parents to participate in activities in the school and promotes the idea that parents will be a partner in their childrens’ education.
Principal Oliver reported the school year got off to a good start and acknowledged K-6 Asst. Principal Amanda Albert’s role in the smooth start. She reported student numbers are up to 592 this year, with 80 kindergarten students, 96 first graders (requiring five first grade classrooms); 62 second graders in 3 classes; 81 third graders and 84 fourth graders.
“Our open house had good turnout,” she said. “We’re going to try to have it the night before school starts next year. A lot of people expressed their concern that it works out so much better to bring the supplies in [at that time].”
New first grade teacher Amanda Riggle was in attendance and introduced to the board.
Middle School Principal Dennis Ervin introduced new fifth grade teacher Katie Clark, and mentioned new sixth grade math teacher Jared Thew, multiple disabilities teacher Jeff Hubschman and Jeff Moore, who was a sixth grade math teacher last year, and moved to the seventh/eighth grade language arts this year.
Ervin announced there are 101 fifth graders, 86 sixth graders, 95 seventh graders and 98 eighth graders.
High School Principal Chad Redmon introduced Deb Conti, new Family Consumer Science Teacher. Redmon noted the high school has 24 students less than they did last year, with 83 freshman, 106 sophomores, 95 juniors and 82 seniors this school year.
Redmon said attendance for the new student/freshman orientation was good, with about three quarters of those students showing up to hear about expectations, what their high school experience will be like and how to be successful during those years.
The board accepted the donation of a stove from Deb Conti to the Multi Handicap Classroom.
After examination of existing school bus routes, time schedules, student residence locations, school locations and available school conveyances and upon establishing that private school students are eligible to receive transportation in accordance with Section 3327.01 of the ORC, the board declared that such service by school conveyance is impractical and agrees to pay the parent or legal guardian of said pupil, in lieu of providing such service, an amount not to exceed the average state cost per pupil for transportation during the school year.
An out of state trip for the Northmor FFA to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana October 24th – 26th was approved. They will be sharing a charter bus with the Clear Fork and Crestview FFA.
A personal services contract with Amber Smith for transportation of a special needs child to Mansfield City Schools at a rate of $20.00 per day for the 2012–2013 school year was approved as well as a contract with the Morrow County Transportation Collaborative (MCTC) for the purpose of transporting pre-school students as needed. Northmor preschool students attend classes in the Whetstone building in Mt. Gilead and are picked up in the elementary bus routes in the morning and transported home midday, when afternoon students must be picked up. Supt. Winand said sometimes it is more practical to use MCTC on an as-needed basis.
The board approved a personal services contract with Angie Rockhold for transportation of a special needs child to Cardington Lincoln Local Schools at a rate of $30.00 per day for the 2012–2013 school year.
Also approved was a contract with the North Central Ohio Education Service Center to provide audiology services for special needs students. This contract is on an as needed basis. The rate of compensation is $77.00 per hour and with a travel compensation of 45 cents per mile.
A contract with Step by Step Academy, Inc. to provide services for special needs students. The contracts are not to exceed $3,333 per month, per student was approved and cannot exceed $40,000 per year per student.
Superintendent’s Employment Recommendations
The following recommendations were approved for the 2012–2013 school year:
Deb Conti for the position of Family and Consumer Science Teacher; accept the resignation of Mauria Rader as a double route bus driver effective the end of the 2011–2012 school year; Chris Wright to serve as a double route bus driver for a one year contract; Laura Smith to tutor a home bound special needs student at a rate of $20 per hour for up to five hours per week. This contract is retroactive to September 6, 2012 and will exist for the 2012–2013 school year; Correct the contract of Jared Thew to recognize his Master’s Degree status; Kim Hessey to transport preschool students to Mt. Gilead Pre School Monday through Thursday at a rate of $11.00 per hour, one hour per day; Brittany Wenger as Varsity Assistant Girls’ Basketball Coach; Brendan Gwirtz as JV Girls’ Basketball Coach; Matt Wiseman as a Junior High Girls’ Basketball Coach; Kevin Ruhl as a Junior High Girls’ Basketball Coach; BJ Trainer as Winter Strength and Conditioning Coach; BJ Trainer as Spring Strength and Conditioning Coach; Doug Wagner as Head Boys’ Track Coach; Mark Yaussy as Head Girls’ Track Coach; Buck Workman as Head Baseball Coach; Shayne Yeater as Head Softball Coach; Cindy Shepherd as Mohican Outdoor School Advisor; Kara Sutton as Mohican Outdoor School Advisor; Jared Thew as Mohican Outdoor School Advisor at a rate of $50.00 per night; Renee Ward as Mohican Outdoor School Advisor at a rate of $50.00 per night; Tina Hile as Yearbook Advisor; Dana Ruth as Show Choir Advisor; LaNeta Wertz as Assistant Show Choir Advisor; Karole Skidmore-Roth as Student Council Advisor; Lisa Keddie as Senior Class Advisor; Brenda Patterson as co-Junior Class Advisor; Marcie Whited as co-Junior Class Advisor; BJ Trainer as Sophomore Class Advisor; Kay Clouse as Freshman Class Advisor; Cindy Frye as National Honor Society Advisor; Nicole Detwiler as a substitute secretary, aide, cafeteria worker and custodian; Hope Lacy as a substitute secretary, aide, cafeteria worker and custodian; Kimberly Hildreth as a substitute secretary, aide and cafeteria worker; recognize Kellie Jo Wright as a marching band volunteer assistant and Russ Montgomery as volunteer bowling coach.
All contracts pending completion of all employment requirements.
The next Board Meeting will be Thursday, October 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Northmor Board of Education meeting room.