Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hard work behind De Soto USD 232 assessment success

October 22, 2008

De Soto USD 232 students once again performed well above their peers in Kansas on state assessment tests. In test taken last spring, 87.9 percent of De Soto students scored at or above the state goal in math. That was a 1 percent improvement from the 2006-2007 year and 23.2 percent better than the state target. In reading, 91.5 percent of district students matched or exceeded the state standard, a 2.5 percent increase from last year. Once again, that was much better than the state’s target of 72 percent.

Science numbers were equally good, with 92.1 percent of district students meeting or exceeding baseline standards. In social studies, in which 91.3 percent of district students did so.

Perhaps most significant is the performance of the district’s English as a second language students and learning disability students — areas that have tripped the district up before.

District officials are still reviewing the figures for the building level, but they expect good news in those areas in the next month, too, with standards of excellence recognitions from the state.

The success is not an accident. On the western side of the district, Starside Elementary School responded to failure of its low income students to make critical annual yearly progress two years ago in reading with a schoolwide reading initiative that encouraged students to read at least 15 minutes a night and through an rapid intervention policy for students found to be struggling on recurring reading skills tests. After barely make AYP two years ago, De Soto High School introduced a rewards and consequences programs that caught students’ attention while giving those struggling additional help.

Parents engaged in the children’s education remains the key, but the recognition of teachers and administrators at the two schools about how to respond and their hard work to implement changes should be saluted.

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