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Plymouth School Board Meeting

December 5, 2012
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12/06/12 The Plymouth School Board will be starting 2013 with a meeting on January 8. According to state statute, the Board must meet within 15 days of the beginning of a year. The meeting has been scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a required Board of Finance meeting. The meeting date was set during the December 4 Board meeting. It is expected that future meeting dates for 2013 will be voted upon at the January 8 meeting.

Joining the Board will be newly elected Gary Cook. Cook replaces Frank Brubaker who completed eight years on the Board.

Two appointments were made at the December meeting including an appointment to the Plymouth Library Board and the Plymouth Redevelopment Commission. Lisa Miller was again named to the Library Board. She has served on that board for two terms and is currently the board secretary. Approving the appointment was the Plymouth Library Director Susie Reinholt. Reinholt called Miller “very dedicated”. Melissa Christiansen will once again be representing the school system on the Redevelopment Commission. Brubaker had held the non-voting seat. The vote for both appointments was unanimous with a 4-0 vote. Board member Todd Samuelson was absent from the meeting.

Director of Quality Programs, Michele Riise, informed the Board that both the ENL (English as a New Language) and Migrant grants that the corporation applied for were approved. Riise said the Migrant grant was significantly higher than in other years and represents a large junk of the state’s allotment for migrants. According to Riise, there are restricted uses of the grant money. She said she anticipates using much of the money for summer programming.

Plymouth High School Guidance Counselors Aimee Portteus and Stacy Scheetz reported on the data for 2012 graduates who chose to take either the SAT or ACT tests or both. Portteus is the Director of Guidance and Sheetz serves as the senior advisor.

Portteus said 146 or 68 percent of the class took the SAT test and 73 or 34 percent of the class took the ACT. Portteus said, “Students are counted only once, no matter how often they tested.”

On the Critical Reading portion of the SAT, Plymouth students overall performance remained much as those taking the test in 2011. Portteus said male performance declined over the past year and female scores improved. She said, “Our five-year average results are equal to the state average and slightly less than the national average.” The math scores on the same test rose significantly, according to Portteus. As with the Critical Reading portion, the scores for males dropped slightly and those for females improved. Portteus called the female scores dramatically improved. The math scores were above the state average and below the national average.

Portteus indicated that the Writing portion of the test has changed in format. She said comparing the scores from previous years is like comparing apples and oranges. Both male and female scores were down. Portteus said, “Our five-year average remains slightly above state average, yet significantly below the national average.”

Scheetz explained that there are waivers for students who may need help in paying the $55 fee for taking the each test. She said she seeks waivers for those students who qualify for free and reduced lunches. Scheetz said, “All of those who received waivers showed up for the November test.”

Scores for those taking the ACT exceeded both the state and national averages for English, math, reading science, and the overall composite score averages as well. PHs is now a testing site for the ACT test.

Portteus also briefed the Board members of the follow-up of the class of 2012 in terms of furthering their education or employments. She said that 116 entered a 4-year college, 27 attended a 2-year college, 11 entered vocational/technical schools, 5 entered the military; however 52 did not pursue higher education. Five certificates of completion (IEP) were given.

Of the 216 graduates, 156 were issued a Core 40 with Academic Honors diploma (66), a Core 40 with Academic Honors and Technical Honors (3), and Core 40 diplomas (40).

According to Portteus, three students received a general diploma after attending summer school. She said the additional three will count toward raising the gradation rate from 89 percent into the 90’s.

Portteus said the top choice for a four-year college was Indiana University South Bend. She said  IUSB does on-site admissions at PHS and offers $500 scholarships for those who enroll.

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