Walter tells Clare BOE test results are mixed bag

September 28, 2017

By Pat Maurer

“Our kids stand out,” Clare Superintendent Jim Walter told the Board of Education at their September 18 meeting.

Jim Walter Superintendent Clare Schools

Jim Walter Superintendent Clare Schools

Walter shared the results of the district’s M-STEP and SAT tests scored from last year and provided the board with a review of the data.

He said the strengths included results from 4th grade Science, which is below the state average, but improving. “Low scores statewide indicate we are all struggling with the state’s expectations/assessment,” he said.

He said that the 5th grade ELA (English Language Arts) scores are above the state average and improving; and that the 7th grade Science scores are “always twenty plus percentage points above the state average.”

The struggles, he said are, “Math remains a consistent concern. We are hoping our curriculum investment pays off, while working to shift instructional practices toward problem-solving and application, versus memorization or algorithms.”

He added, “We start strong in social studies and must improve how our students finish in this core subject.” He said more work in needed in middle school language arts.

Walter said the high school average SAT score rose 16 points, but the number of students achieving college-ready status declined, with fewer students meeting the status in reading, writing and math (which he said, “Continues to be our struggle”).

Across the Regional Education Service District, Walter said, “We hare top honors with Gladwin in ELA scores and are a consistent second in Gladwin in Math scores. In Science and Social Studies, we perform at or near the top for all grade levels tested.”

He concluded, “At the Primary and Middle School levels, we’re implementing intensive interventions to bolster achievement for students that are behind. At the High School level, we’re examining which courses we offer, the order they are offered in [and] instructional practices. It’s precisely why we hired two administrators with a background in math turn-around efforts.”

Other business at the meeting included:

During his report Walter noted that the cleanup and restoration from the fire in the storage facility adjacent to the gymnasium is near completion with the gym scheduled to reopen during the week; that he is still exploring the possibility of a third party employer for bus drivers; and that the MASSB (Michigan Association for Secondary School Principals) would provide teachers with professional development on September and December 13th with costs covered through a RESD grant.

*Approval of the purchase of two 10-passenger Ford Transit 150 XL vans from the State of Michigan’s MIDEAL contract for $59,594. “The purchase fits in our budget,” Walter said. He added that the busses could be driven by parent/volunteers to some team events. “We are short drivers for our busses.”

*Approval of two new hires: Stephanie Rooker as a 4th grade teacher; and Erin Smith as a Special Education teacher in the Middle School.

*Approval of the appointment of Sue Murawski as the district delegate for the MASB Fall Conference in November.

*Approval of bill payable totaling $120,201.77.

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