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Clare BOE hears about student achievement, discusses year-round primary school

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

During her report to the board, Superintendent Doniel Pummell  said there has been some discussion on instituting a “Balanced Calendar” or Year-Round School for Primary grades to address the “learning slip” during summer vacations.

“I don’t want to say we are doing this,” Pummell said, “but it is something to talk about. We need to do what is best for our students.” She said one option would be nine weeks of school then three weeks off and possibly four weeks off during the summer. She added that she would be meeting with community members on March 25 to discuss it more.

Information Systems Director Dwayne Strachan gave a lengthy power point presentation to the Clare Board of Education Monday evening outlining the achievements of students during various State tests held over the past three years.

He said the fall testing results show a marked decline in student achievement on the tests because students are tested on classwork from the previous year and tested after a lengthy summer vacation.

Three members of the High School Wrestling team were honored at the meeting Monday. Shown here are Superintendent Doniel Pummell, Brandon Ayris, Brenden Hensley and Coach Kyle McKay. Not pictured: Logan Emery.

Three members of the High School Wrestling team were honored at the meeting Monday. Shown here are Superintendent Doniel Pummell, Brandon Ayris, Brenden Hensley and Coach Kyle McKay. Not pictured: Logan Emery.

Some of the test results he presented were from the Northwest Educational Assessment (NWEA), MEAP  (Michigan Education Assessment Program) tests, the Explore Exam, ACT test and the districts’ graduation rates. The NWEA measures student growth three times  a year.

Clare scored significantly higher than other area schools on most of the MEAP tests and met their AYP – Annual Yearly Progress  – State goals in all subjects but Science, he reported.  He also said the MEAP tests will be replaced next year with an on-line spring test. Primary Principal Mandy Bolen said the Primary met all of the AMOs (Annual Measurable Objectives/State Benchmarks) except in Science. She outlined plans for a summer program for sixty Primary students to increase their progress and improve comprehension and help them retain what they have learned.

She also explained the DIBELS Next Literacy (reading) testing that measure reading progress with Benchmark Goals and Cut Points to identify students’ skill s that are below levels that would make them likely to reach reading goals without additional support. DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills.

Pioneer Principal Ed Hubbell noted that because of the accomplishments of the Alternative School the State presented a $10,000 award to them last year. He said Pioneer School had the highest graduation rate in northern Michigan and possibly the highest in the State for alternative schools.

High School Principal Lee Turner noted that Clare’s graduation rate is the fourth highest in the State of schools with 100 or more graduating.

Three wrestlers and the Ski Team were honored at the meeting Monday.

Wrestling Coach Kyle McKay presented certificates to Logan Emery, who placed sixth as a State Finalist and was All-State; Brandon Ayris, who placed seventh in the State Finals and All-State and to Brenden Hensley who was a State Qualifier.

The Ski Teams – both boys and girls were also recognized with both named the Central Area Ski Conference Champions.

Molly Merillat was the Regional Top Skier in Slalom and Madi Cleary was Regional Top Skier in Slalom and State Qualifier. The girls’ team includes Yuliya Danylenko, Madelyn Franko, Robyn Stanley, Molly Merillat, Megan Blakely, Sierra Kwiatkowski, Emily Allen, Hannah Hofweber, Alise Cronin and Madi Cleary.

Zach Brockway was Regional Top Skier in Giant Slalom and Slalom, State Qualifier and Second Team All – State Skier in Giant Slalom. Team member include Bryce Carter, Samuel Hershberger, Charlie Bugbee, Ryan Whiteman, Zach Brockway, Jay Poet and Cole Carter.

Other items on the agenda for the board meeting included:

*A report from Band Booster President Melissa DeRoche that the 7th, 8th and High School bands all received 1 ratings at the District Band Festival.

*The board tabled the first reading of the changes to the CHS Student Handbook until the next meeting.

*Approval was given to take bids on the food service, as Chartwell’s five year contract is expiring and State guidelines require that the board ask for bids.

*The Best Practices Resolution was approved. When 7 of 8 of the financial best practices are met the district can apply for $52 in State funds for each pupil.

*The board approved February bills totaling $126,365.46.

*The board went into closed session to discuss negotiations.

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