Reading and math tests taken by Great Bend students last month show positive progress when compared to test scores at the start of the school year, USD 428 Assistant Superintendent John Popp said.
The improvements were achieved by providing extra help, or intervention, to students whose skills are below their grade level. Popp said dozens of students moved out of intervention at the end of the year:
• At the elementary level, 180 students moved out of math intervention and 153 students moved out of reading intervention.
• At the secondary level, 66 students moved out of math intervention and 40 students moved out of reading intervention.
This isn’t simply a better grade on the same test. Students are expected to learn new skills as the year progresses.
Test scores suggest that 42 percent of Great Bend’s second graders start the school year at the benchmark reading level. “But by eighth grade, if they stay in our system, 70 percent are at reading level,” Popp said.
Popp credits the gains to the work of teachers and instructional coaches. He also said the enVision Math curriculum implemented in 2015 has led to better comprehension of mathematical concepts.
“We start with a solid core and grow from there,” he said. “The strength of having a common core across all of our elementary schools is starting to show itself.”
The district plans to do the same thing with its reading curriculum, he said.
Popp shared the information at Monday’s school board meeting at the District Education Center. During that meeting Interim Superintendent Khris Thexton gave an update on building improvements scheduled to become summer projects.
He recently met with an engineer to discuss what is needed to improve the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Great Bend High School field house.
“The locker rooms get funky,” Thexton commented. There are window air conditioners and that contributes to the odor. Another problem: there is no insulation in the roof.
“We’ve got a lot of projects in the works, getting ready to go,” Thexton said.
In other business Monday, the board accepted the retirement of Cheryl Muth, teacher of grade 4 at Eisenhower Elementary, effective at the end of this school year.
This is the time of year that schools start recruitment for teachers, Thexton said. Principals will attend recruitment fairs across Kansas and in other states.