The Continuous Improvement Plan is designed to guide a school’s improvement effort and can be revised as needed depending on the progress of the school’s strategies and goals. Superintendent Robert Sparkman said this is the district’s eighth year in preparing and creating these plans.
“As we do every year, we present our schools’ improvement plans. ... We get our staff together, our administrators, our central office staff together, and we develop an improvement plan for each building,” Sparkman said. “We look back, see what kind of data we got in and what it shows us about our instructional program. Then, we look forward and see what kind of goals we want to set for the coming year.”
Maddox Middle School’s plan involved looking at the changes in grades sixth, seventh and eighth from 2012 to 2013 with the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test scores as an entire group. This allows them to see if improvements were made or if there are areas that need to be focused on more in the coming year. According to the state’s accountability reporting system on alsde.edu, the ARMT results are reported in student percentages in the following categories: Level IV – Exceeds Academic Content Standards, Level III – Meets Academic Content Standards, Level II – Partially Meets Academic Content Standards, and Level I – Does Not Meet Academic Content Standards.
There was a drop in sixth-grade reading from 92 percent to 87 percent, which Stricklin says is still a good score but is still an area for improvement. There were improvements, however, in reading with the seventh and eighth grade — 4 percent and 3 percent increases, respectively. Students increased in math scores as well, except in seventh grade where the percentage dropped by only 1 percent.
Stricklin also added that a targeted focus was held on the school’s special education student subgroup.
She said they also used a monitoring progress tool, AIMSweb, to help monitor the students’ progress in math and reading.
“We took the individual scores and looked at those to see if we made progress with those students,” Stricklin said, “and we did. ... One of the things I was very proud of if you look at our eighth-grade math scores, 92 percent of our students increased and for our reading, 83 percent of the students increased.”
Maddox plans to work on the following strategies for their CIP: Learning through Literacy with professional development for teachers, literacy standards implementation with more inquiry/project-based learning and Mathematical Problem Solving and Procedural Fluency with AMSTI labs and project-based learning activities and the collection of data through assessments.
Jackson spoke next on Memorial Park’s CIP. According to 2013 ARMT scores for the elementary school, third graders were 95 percent proficient in math and 94 percent proficient in reading; fourth graders were 93 percent proficient in math and 98 percent in reading; and, fifth graders were 99 percent proficient in math and 97 percent in reading.
“We’re very proud of those; however, we did cite as a weakness an area of concernwhere we increase the number of Level IVs that we had at every grade in those tests,” Jackson said. “... Another area we’re proud of is that all of our students exceeded the local benchmark on DIBELS and the Jasper City benchmarks.”
Looking forward to 2014, Jackson said they held Vertical Team meetings before school started, College and Career Readiness Standard implementation with turn around faculty training.
Academic goals for Memorial Park consist of meeting or exceeding 80 percent of the Jasper City benchmark on the ACT Aspire State Assessments in reading and 80 percent in math, increase the use of technology, utilize reading and math strategies, AMSTI and ARI training, and implement the second phase of The Leader in Me program.
“We promise you to do our very best everyday and to make you proud as we serve the students of our community,” Jackson said. “We appreciate the fine job that you do in supporting the kids.”
In other business, the board:
•approved the minutes for a board meeting on Aug. 19.
•approved the August financial report.
•approved the request for school credit cards.
•approved the disposal of surplus items for the district.
•approved the Medicaid Administration contract for AASB.
•approved the district capital plan.
•approved an overnight field trip request for Maddox Middle School.
•approved the superintendent’s personnel report, including the announcement of a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant Elliot Harris, director of auxiliary services, applied for and received in the amount of $175,000 to be spent over a course of three years that will pay for services the program provides throughout the year.
• heard a presentation made by Cenergistics representative Truman Atkins.
The company creates energy conservation programs that help to reduce an organization’s consumption of energy.
Cenergistics partnered with the board in 2010 and the contract will end in May 2014, but the board will still be able to use the program for as long as they would like.
“Over the last 37 months, you averaged 27 percent in reduction of cost as compared to what you were using or spending in that base year,” Truman said. “If you look at the dollars, it’s quite significant, actually $668,000 in 37 months. ... I think that’s amazing what you’ve done in terms of applying it to technology. You’re doing an excellent job here.”
Truman and his partner congratulated Steve Lane, who is Walker High School’s head custodian and manages the energy program within the district, and the school board Tuesday night.
After the meeting adjourned, members and Sparkman entered into a work session where they heard from Kelly Educational Staffing employees.