Mid-Year Check-Up

The year is flying by and this is the time of year where we can get a little fatigued.  It’s helpful to take stock of what we’ve accomplished and review our goals to help maintain our focus.

STEM emphasis
We opened this year as a STEM emphasis school.  We have several goals associated with this and we have met almost all of them already!  First goal was that all of our students would complete the Project Lead the Way Launch- Structure and Function module.  This is an introduction to the engineering design process and the kids have loved doing it.  As of today, all but 5th grade has completed this goal.
Our second STEM emphasis goal was that every student would have another STEM experience and we’ve met that goal with the following field trips and activities:
An hour of code- each grade participated in December, some classes have continued and some students have continued on their own.
K-     Nature Center
1st-  Environmental Center
2nd- Nature Center
3rd-  Tulip planting
4th-  Water Van,
5th-  Bird Refuge, Environmental Center
6th-  Environmental Center, Hansen Planetarium

A third goal associated with our STEM emphasis was getting teachers professional development to help them feel comfortable integrating STEM into our subjects.  Most of our teachers came in the summer for a training and we’ve done additional training since then.   It really shows when I’m in the classrooms.  Teachers are giving students the opportunities to discover and wonder in reading, math, and science which is exactly what we want them to do.  We want them to learn to stay in the struggle to master a concept.  This is what  being a life long learner means.  There will always be new things to learn and we have to be able to figure things out to function.

Reading Goal
We recently did our middle of the year Dibels assessment.  We are doing great in the younger grades.. the number of students reading at benchmark increased by 12%.  We dropped a little with our students 4-6.  These reading benchmarks are moving targets- they continue to increase throughout the year.  It is a permanent expectation that students read 20 minutes a day.  We have our reading incentives over the summer and Christmas breaks and also the drawings each quarter to try and keep this goal in mind.

Math Goal
The only school-wide measure I have right now for math is our Dreambox data.  I’ve heard SAGE and other end of level tests called autopsy assessments because by the time we get the data there isn’t anything useful we can do with it.  We have various assessments being used to help drive our instruction but the only school-wide tool is Dreambox.  The research says that if we can get students using it 3 times a week we can expect students to gain more than 1 year of growth.  According to the data we aren’t getting students using this tool regularly enough for the results we’d like, that is why we started our weekly drawings for a $10 gift card. Our first week was very successful, it will be interesting to see what happens as a result of our campaign.

So all in all, we’ve had a very successful first half of the year academically.  I’m also very pleased with all of the other opportunities we’ve provided for our students.  The 7 Habits are going well with Mrs. Ramage, our counselor.  The PTA fitness clubs have been a huge success with students developing all types of athletic skills, our Robotics Club has been a very different opportunity for growth and choir and orchestra have been awesome.

Looking forward, we have clear goals for the rest of the year.  Literacy week is the first week in March, Spring Break is the last week of March… Still lot’s to look forward to and accomplish.



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