Student testing data shows more consistent growth

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First implemented in fall 2016, STAR test data reported through the Renaissance analysis has been a cause for concern to the Winters School Board, as a majority of the district has reported below grade level for reading and math skills.

Each principal reported mid-year data for the 2017-18 school year to the board on Thursday, Feb. 1, for comparison to the winter scores compared with early fall scores. Principals aligned their presentations so the board looked at consistent data between school sites.

Growth across the board in both reading and math suggests students may also be warming up to the test, making it a more accurate indicator of performance.

“We are happy to report the average grade equivalency has grown for both reading and math,” said elementary school principal Greg Moffitt.

At his school, which includes both Waggoner Elementary and Shirley Rominger Intermediate campuses, he started an intervention protocol for low-performing students that asks each teacher to identify five students on whom to focus for improvement through the year, and he was happy with the results in higher test scores.

“The focus now is how we can keep going and get up to the end of the benchmark we set for students. All of the elementary data currently shows the average student performing at grade level.”

At the middle school, although most of the scores were below grade level, principal John Barsotti presented the same pattern of growth for his students who have higher scores than the beginning of the school year.

“Our professional development focuses on several things in planning and instruction,” said Barsotti. “The best intervention is that quality first instruction.”

He said that expanding student support in the hours outside of class time would be key in getting the middle school to perform at grade level, as he plans to add more homework club sections.

The board, typically responding with apprehensive interrogation about the state of the test scores, was happy to see the positive trend.

“We’re showing growth, and that’s the key thing for me,” said board president Robert Warren.

In sync with the other sites, high school principal Nicole Reyherme presented positive numbers.

“There is growth at every level at the expected level of growth,” she said.

Reyherme was not only concerned with bringing up low-scoring students, but offering support to students who achieve at grade level but still have room to achieve even higher.

“We can’t forget that the students who have reached it still need to show growth,” she said.

Reyherme reported enthusiastically that 106 students at her site have achieved the highest possible score on the reading test.

The math scores show slightly skewed data as older students may opt to not take math if they have already met graduation requirements. This results in a smaller test pool of students who are typically taking advanced math classes.

“I like that our brighter children don’t slide backwards,” said trustee Rudolph Muldong.

Technology services coordinator Micah Studer agreed that the growth was good, but he pointed out that test scores would have to outpace student progression through each grade to get the district in a better place.

“It’s one thing to say we’re not where we need to be — we’re really trying to accelerate our growth,” he said.


Yolo Solano Center for Teacher Credentialing

Juliana Sikes, the director for the intern program with the center for teacher credentialing, presented on the mission, goals and process of each of the center’s programs.

“How does the teacher shortage affect us? We will need over 100,000 more teachers in California over the next decade,” said Sikes.

She pointed out that enrollment in university teacher preparation programs has declined by 70 percent.

The center provides ways for people who are employed in education to obtain credentials so they can have a more direct path to teaching.

The center credentials in three ways: awarding higher-level clear credentials to teachers who have a preliminary credential, providing education for classified employees to earn a credential, and offering coursework for interns to earn a credential.

“We’re on a path to address the teacher shortage,” said Sikes.


Other items

~  The board unanimously approved an agreement between the district and the Classified School Employees organization for their benefits for the 2017-18 school year.

~  The board approved out-of-state travel for Studer, who will go to Washington D.C. in March to attend a summit on technology in education at no cost to the district, as the attendance is funded by education non-profit CUE.

~  The board unanimously approved the final issuance of Measure R bond funds for $5,000,000. The district borrows this money from investors and pays it back in scheduled increments from property taxes approved by voters in June 2014.

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