We’ve completed our beginning of the year diagnostic assessment. That assessment is called i-Ready and it tells us lots of things, most simply what grade level our students are performing at in both Reading and Math, and also how each student does on strands (like Geometry and Algebraic Thinking in Math or Vocabulary and Informational Texts in Reading, etc.) This data helps:

  • the students know what they need to do to get where they need to be.
  • It let’s the teachers know where they need to start and allows them to create goals for moving all students toward mastery, and
  • it is a better indicator for parents to know where their children are compared to where they need to be than grades. There, I said it. Grades are overrated.

What does our schoolwide data tell us? We were robbed. Specifically, we were robbed of:

a) a chance to take 2020 ILEARN and show much improved scores over the year prior, and

b) 3 months of in-person instruction by COVID-19 (not to mention spring afterschool remediation program, summer school, and afterschool remediation for this year.)

     Isn’t there a bright side? Yes! For our data to look this good here at the start of the school year it means: our teachers and students were rocking out last year before the school shutdown. Data hadn’t been a strength of ours in recent memory, but we were making strong gains. And our students, teachers, and FAMILIES kept students growing through the shutdown.

So what is next? We still have a long way to go. I truly am impressed by how many students are on track, or just below where they ought to be when we consider the excuse of what the COVID shutdown did to us… but we can make excuses or we can make gains – we can’t do both. How do we make up for what was lost last year?

  • Teachers are using this data to personalize instruction for students.
  • They are maximizing our time in school.
  • We are using new tools to get students skills they missed.

That is part of it, but we need the students and their families to continue their efforts and maybe push alittle harder too.

  • Know what your student’s data tells you about their current skill level. If you don’t have that information, reach out to his or her teacher and ask for it. If you have the data but you don’t understand it, ask the teacher to explain it.
  • All students should be reading at least 30 minutes every day at home/after school. The more your child resists reading at home, the more he or she needs that reading time. If your child is reading something too easy, that is ok sometimes, but just like a weight lifter won’t increase his or her strength unless they put more weight on the bar, your child won’t increase his or her abilities unless the books get more difficult over time.
  • Unless your child can count to infinity, is automatic on addition and subtraction facts to 20 and multiplication and division facts to 12, then there is room to improve on Math facts. Both flash cards and online tools like Xtra Math can help a student master Math facts.

That’s the path forward. We are the #BestSmallSchoolintheState but we also want to have the #HighestTestScoresintheState. We want to have the #SmartestStudentsintheState. We aren’t there yet, but it is there for us to reach out and grab it. Let’s do it!

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