02/17/11 The Union-North United School Corporation held a public hearing last Thursday night to inform the public on the probationary status of the LaVille Jr.-Sr, High School. According to Principal Chuck Phillips, the decision at the state level was based on data from the 2008-2009 school year. Phillips said the math scores at the junior high level on the ISTEP test saw a five percent drop in the passing rate. He said the sub-category of free/reduced students is the problem area.
Phillips said the high school graduation rate for 2008-2009 decreased by 1.1 percent (75.8 percent) and the rate for the school year 2009-2010 showed an increase of 9.8 percent (85.6 percent).
Phillips shared some of the requirements that are being imposed by the state. He said the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures growth from year to year based upon the No Child Left behind Federal Legislation. He said by 2014, all students will have to achieve proficiency in English/language arts and math.; high schools must meet 100 percent graduation rates; junior and senior high schools must meet attendance goals; and they must assess at least 95 percent of students.
He also touched on Public Law 221. He said it measures growth over a three-year period based upon the cohort and must show percentage growth in student passing rate over the three-year period.
However, the corporation is not without a plan. Phillips said they intend to increase the amount of problem-based projects in the curriculum. He said “We want to connect the importance of math to the world our students live in and the “real world” application is important.” They also intend to increase the expectations at lower grade level in the curriculum as well. He said all 7th graders will take pre-algebra and all 8th graders will take Algebra I
To help those students having difficulties, they plan to add Algebra Help Labs into the curriculum.
In order to increase the graduation rate, they will continue with credit recovery opportunities in the math curriculum that they believe will allow students a better opportunity to meet Core 40 requirements.
Phillips said the National Honor Society members at the school will offer free after school tutoring to all students on each Monday and Wednesday.
Other changes on the horizon, according to Phillips, in reading recovery in the 7th grade for those that have not met the qualifications passing the ISTEP English/language arts and a nine week class for all 7th graders to teach basic skills on taking notes and other items to provide them the necessary tools. He also discussed connecting the sustained silent reading program into writing that is subject driven.
They will also be investigating summer school opportunities. Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker said, “The state is not inclined to fund summer school.”
After the hearing, the pubic was invited to tour the areas of the building that have recently been renovated. The Media Center now includes a work room where students can meet in groups to work on projects and a productivity room for both teachers and students to use after school. The Media Center is now on a Wifi network
There is also a long-distance language lab in the Center. Barker said students can be connected to Culver High School for French lessons. He explained that they are using the Rosetta Stone materials that allow other students to work at their own pace to learn other languages. He said, “Rather than going a mile wide and an inch deep-we are drilling down.” Barker said, “Maybe down the road we will be able to open it up as a community resource.”
The newly remodeled front office areas now allow visitors to enter the building and wait to be admitted by office personnel. Previously, those wanting to enter had to ring a bell and wait outside for a response. Barker explained that all visitors must be cleared by school personnel before being allowed to enter into the main part of the school.
A concession stand area has been upgraded for use during events such as athletic games. The area has also been opened up to allow students to choose between a plated lunch or use an ala carte line. Barker said, “It’s just about a 50-50 split of those using the regular meal or choosing the ala carte line.” Although not totally stocked, the renovation includes a book store area. Barker said the material used in the auxiliary gym to reduce the sound seems to be effective.
He said, “There is still more to do. We have a lot of building here.”