Hogen presents state testing data to PTA

Hogen presents state testing data to PTA HEAD: The Vermillion PTA Chapter met on Thursday, Nov. 18 at Jolley Elementary. PTA President Paddy Rosdail welcomed everyone and thanked folks for helping with Kids' Vote, SPED, soup supper during parent/teacher conferences, and the PTA/Hy-Vee Halloween Party. Laura Zimmerman gave the treasurer's report. The complete PTA minutes are available on the school district's Web site. A concern for a noon aide at Austin has come up and PTA wants to help raise money to help with medical expenses. The PTA will be taking orders for Braided Bread. Each loaf is $8 and a portion will go directly to help with the medical expenses. If you'd like to order, please stop in at Austin and/or Jolley offices and place your order by Dec. 6. Payment must be made at the time of ordering. The bread will be delivered by Dec. 14. There is a "Holiday Giving Tree" near the offices in Austin and Jolley. Teachers have provided a "wish list" and all are encouraged to take an item(s) to purchase for the teachers. The items must be returned by Dec. 10. Ruth Ann Hildreth encouraged us to continue saving Box Tops For Education and Campbells soup labels. They can be dropped off at all the buildings. Dr. Liz Hogen, director of instruction for the Vermillion School District, presented statistics and information regarding state achievement testing. The DakotaSTEP is a state required test in math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies. The DakotaSTEP is a combined NRT (norm referenced test) and CRT (criterion referenced test). The CRT is for reading and math and is aligned to the state content standards and the teacher's instruction. This is the part of the test that schools are held accountable for with the No Child Left Behind legislation. These tests, as required by law, are given in grades 3-8 and 11. Our second grade students participate in the NRT only so teachers, parents, and administrators are better able to plan for their instructional needs as they enter Jolley School. The districts must show AYP (adequate yearly progress) in many groups and sub-groups in both reading and math. These groups include: district level, school level, grade level, students with special needs, limited English proficiency students, economically disadvantaged students, ethnicity groups (White, Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, and Hispanic). Schools must also make AYP in attendance and graduation rates. AYP is determined by the percent of students found to be proficient or advanced on the DakotaSTEP test. The results of the DakotaSTEP indicated that AYP was achieved by our schools in all of the above areas except for the Native American and Students with Disabilities sub-groups at both Jolley and the Middle School. Since Austin is considered a "feeder school" to Jolley, they are required to address the same areas as Jolley. The district will address the needs of these and all students through the school improvement plan. Although there are many conditions that can not be controlled by the schools, there are many things that can be impacted. These are the areas that will be focused on in the school improvement plan. There are both positive and negative aspects of the No Child Left Behind law. The focus on instruction, raising achievement, school accountability and appropriate assessment are all positive things. The Stanford Writing Assessment was administered to the fifth- and ninth-graders last October. Although this is also a state required test, the schools are not held accountable for the scores as part of the No Child Left Behind requirements. The tests are sent to Texas to be read and analyzed by Harcourt test publishers. The results are analyzed and used to help plan effective writing instruction. All the state testing information shared by Dr. Hogen can be found on the state Web site at www.state.sd.us/deca and will soon be available on the district Web site. There will be no December chapter meeting. Board of Managers will meet, 7 p.m. Nov. 30, at the Jolley Media Center.

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