School board continues strategic planning efforts
Efforts to increase student performance continues to be one of the primary goals set by the school board during a strategic planning season earlier this month.
As part of that effort, the board and administration are utting their focus on the improvement of English and language arts skills as well as math scores.
A measuring stick will be for all students to meet their projected growth in in-house testing and the state-mandated testing known as the Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System.
It’s also there goal to have Perkins County High School juniors exceed the state average composite testing scores and follow that up with improvement as seniors.
The school already has a number of tools in place to bolster student achievement and added several more during their planning session.
One of the primary assessment tools used by the school is the Measures of Academic Progress testing developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association based in Oregon.
The NWEA is a nonprofit that has assessed millions of students anc compiles data to assist with student development.
The MAP testing is administered three times a year-—fall winter and spring.
The computerized tests cover reading, language usage, science and math.
By having a fall test, teachers can identify what areas each student is proficient in and what areas need improvement.
They can then structure instruction to address student needs and how every student can make progress from the fall starting point.
Results from MAP testing get turned around quickly, allowing teachers to make the needed changes. That’s in significant contrast to the Nebraska testing where results take nine to 12 months before data is available to schools. Superintendent Phillip Piquet said that makes the results harder to react to and address areas of need.
Another goal for the board is the review and expand curriculum offerings, and more specifically, in the area of career-tech education and career pathways.
For college-bound students, that means taking classes specifically to prepare them for college, including enabling eight graders to begin algebra.
More students are going to tech schools to prepare themselves for a career in technical areas.
Expanding opportunties in work study is something administration is looking at to enhance the technical skills of students while still in high school. Work study can also help students evaluate a tech career they may be interested in prior to heading to tech school.
The school has already taken steps to involve invovlement from the community and enhance communication efforts.
One of the goals will be to develop a specific communication plan to be implemented second semester.
Work study opportunities will come from businesses and establishing relationships with them will be key in the success of career tech education.