Local District Nabs Honor

NEW KNOXVILLE — Of the 29 school districts in Auglaize, Mercer, Allen and Shelby counties, New Knoxville Local School is one of only four districts to earn an “Excellent with Distinction” rating on its report card, according to preliminary results released from the Department of Education.

“I cannot express how exciting this is for our district,” Principal Linda Tebbe told board of education members at their meeting Monday night. “We knew we had the ‘Excellent Rating,’ we were just waiting on the Value Added report.”

The Value Added report tracks the district’s growth.

“For all of the fourth through eighth-grade reading and math, they make a prediction for every student based upon their score last year, based upon the trends of that class,” she said. “They make a prediction for each child on what they should get the next year.”

If the prediction is made, the district meets expected growth and is given a yellow. If the prediction is not met, calculated at more than two standard deviations below the prediction, the district does not meet expected growth and is given a red. If the prediction is exceeded, calculated at two standard deviations above the prediction, the district does better than expected growth and is given a green.

Tebbe noted to earn the “Excellent with Distinction” rating, the district must meet a slew of indicators, which include passing tests, the graduation rate and attendance rate, the district must meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) and the district must earn a Performance Index rating of more than 100, in addition to earning a green Value Added rating.

Superintendent Kim Waterman said earning the high ranking is the result of several initiatives.

“I don’t think we can contribute the score to any one particular thing,” Waterman said.

“The teachers have been involved in so many school initiatives, district initiatives,  taking a look at our data and where we need to go and what we need to do, building our technology capacity to where we needed it to be — it just goes on and on.”

To have success, everyone must be working together, Waterman added.

“Our ultimate goal is the success of our students and it takes all of us working together to get that accomplished,” she said. “We are very blessed to be here at New Knoxville School. We have great teachers, we have hard working students, we have supportive parents and a community that supports our efforts. I think it takes all of that to make us successful.”

Board Member Ryan Miltner congratulated the district on its high ranking.

“A hearty congratulations to everybody — to the students, the teachers, the administration, the staff — for getting us our designation,” he said. “That’s the reason we’re here.”

Board Member Brian Lammers noted education is the district’s priority.

“This is the focus, this is what we’re about,” he said, noting his appreciation for the volunteers for the district and past board members. “This has been years in the development in this community.”

In her report to board members, Tebbe also noted a select group of teachers are practicing Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) in the classroom.

“We have about 10 teachers who are implementing some of this program,” she said. “It’s a shift in how teachers asses students ... It’s that idea that practice, whether it’s homework, in-class work along the way, should not be graded. It’s just that ultimate result.”

FIP involves using a pretest, enrichment activities and a final assessment, she said. Parents will notice a difference in Progress Book for those in a class using FIP.

“Typically, teachers had homework, quizzes, tests, projects, papers,” she said. “This asks teachers to record scores by their standard or by their strand. There’s five strands in mathematics in how they’re tested — there’s measurements, there’s number sense, there’s geometry, there’s probability.”

Testing and grading using FIP helps identify areas that a student may need more help in.

“This will identify which specific areas a child needs help with, and if they do retest or get extra help, you just hone in on that section,” Tebbe said.

Board members met in executive session to review and consider the applications for treasurer and to develop a schedule for interviews. No action was taken when board members reconvened in regular session.

In other business, board members:

• Approved the Sept. 24 meeting minutes.

• Approved the September financial report.

• Approved the five-year forecast.

• Approved a list of personnel items.

The next regular meeting of the New Knoxville Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 in the media center.