USD 410 board reviews student assessment plan

Talk of assessment dominated the Oct.8 board of education meeting for Unified School District 410.

?Nothing drives instruction more than assessment,? Superintendent Steve Noble told board members. ?We do what gets measured.?

Noble reviewed a PowerPoint presentation about the importance of college and career readiness for Kansas students developed by the Kansas School Superintendent Association.

Referencing longitudinal data, Noble said employment potential and earnings are tied to one?s education level. In Kansas, 64 percent of the jobs require postsecondary education.

Recently adopted common core outcomes are designed to enhance student preparedness for college and viable careers.

A decision, he said, needs to be made about which option to use in assessing common core outcomes.

Noble highlighted three assessment options, including the ACT Test, which is used by the majority of high school seniors in Kansas?including those in USD 410?as the curriculum-based tool to measure student readiness for college.

An added component for the ACT will measure nonacademic aspects such as work discipline, teamwork, customer service orientation and managerial potential, he said.

USD 418 McPherson applied for and received a waiver from U.S. Department of Education to use the ACT Test instead of state assessments, he said.

Noble said he wants to emphasize ACT college entrance examination scores to measure for USD 410 students.

HHS seniors 2011 and 2012 did not perform as highly on ACT as the three classes ahead of them.

?College readiness is the key piece to wrestle with,? Noble said.

Greg Brown, USD 410 curriculum director and Hillsboro Middle School principal, also reviewed spring 2012 state assessment results for elementary, middle and high schools.

Brown noted third, fourth and fifth grades in math, third and fifth grades in reading, and fourth grade in science all met the standard of excellence.

All grades in Hillsboro Middle School made standard of excellence in both reading and math, he said, as did the 11th grade.

The areas of science, history and government are ?kind of a moving target,? Brown said.

In the future, he said, the district will no longer focus on these state assessments, which are tied to No Child Left Behind, because of the transition to common core standards.

?(They?ll be) irrelevant to students? learning and our teaching,? Brown said.

He also explained factors that contributed to one subgroup in the district not meeting AYP?adequate yearly performance.

The district exceeded state mandated caps on administering alternate and modified assessments for students with learning disabilities, Brown said.

Gifted students as well as those with learning disabilities receive an individualized learning plan, he said.

Even if a student?s IEP indicates taking an alternate assessment, Brown said the state can only acknowledge the cap.

?I think overall we can feel pretty good about our class of kiddos in 2012,? he said.

The district will be implementing its plan of transitioning to common core standards, Brown said, which addresses areas such as improving achievement, increasing growth and monitoring participation and graduation rates.

?The new score (method) will encourage even our best students,? Noble said.

Lunch standards

Food services director Teresa Bernhardt reviewed efforts she has been making to comply with the new USDA standards for school meals, which require 550 to 650 calories for elementary, 600 to 700 for middle school and 750 to 850 for high school.

?It?s hard to get the meals into to compliance,? Bernhardt said. ?I have to redo every recipe we use.?

In the past, she said she used a six-week rotation cycle for meals but now uses a four-week rotation.

Bernhardt said she?s incorporated more fruits and vegetables and less calories from carbohydrates and proteins.

?I like to serve them fresh whenever I can, but it?s a dollar issue,? she said.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? discussed online learning policy changes.

? approved a bid of $30,820 from Elcon Electric for updating lighting and fixtures for the HHS and HMS gyms.

? approved partnering with the city of Hillsboro for an engineering services contract for Phase 1 of the Safe Routes for Schools.

Noble asked the board to agree to fund $14,087.50, which is half of the engineering costs. Those costs cannot be reimbursed out of the $250,000 grant for the project.

? approved contract for Mallory Shewey as head basketball coach for HMS girls and work agreements for Sara Simington as bus driver for special education route and Carmon Jones as Parents as Teachers educator.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 for setting goals and reviewing HVAC estimates.

Board member Mark Rooker was absent from the Oct. 8 meeting.