"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spooky School Board Meeting on Monday October 29 at 6:30 PM

The ECSD will hold its monthly meetings of the whole on Monday October 29 at 6:30 PM. Click on the link below to view the agenda. Of most importance is the approval of the levy for this school year. Things to know about the budget this year is that the State Aid is down a bit compared to what was predicted in July. This is because the district underspent last year's budget. So, you get less money from the state if you save them money. It kind of makes a perverted sense, but I wouldn't want my employer giving me a pay cut if he found out that I was being (GASP!) fiscally responsible. It does give you insight into why school officials have such convoluted thinking compared to the average Joe on the street about budgeting. The district still qualifies for the 50+50 per kid funding, accounting for about $180K increase. Once I get a chance to sit down with the district business manager, I will understand a lot more about the budget for this year. There are a lot more discussion items like employee handbooks and other joyful topics. Come join in the fun!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ECSD School Report Cards: District makes the grade.

I hope everyone has had the chance to follow my series of articles about the School Report Cards and increasing achievement expectations in the Review. The beauty about the new accountability system is how much information is contained in the score. It immediately pinpoints areas of strength and areas that need to be improved. This will be key to continuing to improve to the increasing standards each year.

One area that shows a need for improvement in the district is "closing the gap" for JC McKenna. That same category led to the High School getting the highest score in the Rock Valley North Conference, where they managed to significantly outperform McFarland in this important Priority Area and finally exceed a measure of academic achievement against the historically high performing district.

So much more information will continue to be gleaned from this data. Director of instructor Paula Landers is one of the most competent individuals I've had the privilege of working with. She will use this data to tweak current initiatives and inform future improvements.

Kudos to the district. I know they won't rest on their laurels as they must continue to improve. The only downside to the Report Cards is that as Agenda 2017 progresses into full swing, lots of things will change. The test will be switched over to Smarter Balanced in 2015 when NAEP cut scores will be in full swing. Parents and officials need to be ready to be patient while the new system settles in. Folks need to expect more than usual fluctuations in data because all the targets, tests and benchmarks will be changing pretty much constantly in the next three years. In a small district like ECSD, these data swings get exaggerated even more. So, my recommendation is to stay calm and be happy for now.