L-S makes the grade on Iowa Report Card: Schools in top 3% statewide (Newton Daily News article)

posted Dec 29, 2017, 5:53 PM by webmaster@lshawks.org   [ updated Dec 29, 2017, 5:54 PM ]


By David Dolmage Newton Daily News

December 29, 2017    10:16 am

URL: http://www.newtondailynews.com/2017/12/28/l-s-makes-the-grade-on-iowa-report-card/asvwh6p/

The state’s department of education has released its annual report, a tool used to grade Iowa’s schools, and the Lynnville-Sully school district has made the grade once again.

Both the high school as well as the middle school were rated exceptional by the report card, with both schools ranked in the top three percent of all Iowa schools. Lynnville-Sully Superintendent Shane Ehresman said he’s pleased to see the rankings and was quick to point out it’s a top to bottom effort that’s made the district stand out.

“We have an outstanding student body, a strong, committed staff, and a very supportive community,” Ehresman said.

Ehresman said the rankings weren’t much of a surprise, the scores are heavily influenced by state assessment scores, and when those came back this spring Ehresman said he was confident district would do well when the report card was released. The Iowa School Report Card, which was launched in 2015 as part of a state legislative requirement, rates public schools on some measures of achievement. They include student proficiency rates in math and reading, student academic growth, narrowing achievement gaps among students, college and career readiness, student attendance, graduation rates and staff retention.

Statewide only 20 percent of schools surveyed showed improvement from previous scores, with slightly more than half showing no change, and the remaining schools showing a drop in scores. In a press release, Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said education needs to remain a priority in the state.

“These results reinforce the need to continue moving forward with the bold education initiatives Iowa has put in place to strengthen instruction and prepare students for success in high school and beyond,” Wise said. “It’s encouraging that we’ve made significant progress statewide in improving the reading skills of children in kindergarten through third grade, as shown on early literacy screening assessments given three times a year

Each school building’s performance is based over a two-year period, the report card assigns one of six ratings: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority. The middle school received an exceptional rating for the second year in a row, scoring the highest of all schools surveyed statewide, with 73.5 points. The high school was also ranked exceptional for the third year in a row, with a score of 75.1 points. Ehresman said the district uses an analytical method to track student progress, which allows the school to make sure students are on the right track. Teachers at the middle school have been using the method to track students for more than a decade, and for Ehresman, the proof is in the pudding.

“I’d liken it to the medical field, if you went to a doctor, they would run a battery of test on you instead of just making a gut-level decision,” Ehresman said. “We want to build data-driven assessments and tests and then make a decision. We actually have the data to drive our decisions.”

Ehresman said the district is planning to hold several assemblies to celebrate the accomplishment next year. Promising that staff at Lynnville-Sully wouldn’t rest on their laurels Ehresman said the district wants to continue to focus on making sure every student not only graduates but receives the best education possible.

“Parents in our district are elated to see our school achieve at a high level. I think people are really happy that we’re at that level, and people want to see us stay at that level,” Ehresman said. “We want to make sure we’re continually improving.”

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com