Testing and Accountability:
Most of us agree that students are tested too much. Public schools in Minnesota are required to administer the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). The MCA tests were introduced as a paper and pencil test administered in reading, language arts and math. Recently, the assessments have slowly progressed toward computer completion aligned with the Science MCA. Embedded in the MCA tests are the GRAD tests that students must pass to receive their diploma. Students take the MCA tests in the spring and the results are returned at the end of the summer. A common concern is that MCA tests provide no real-time information for teachers to customize their teaching, therefore, requiring many districts to pay for Aimsweb, Scantron, MAP or NWEA assessments taken on the computer. We currently use Aimsweb in the primary grades, and NWEA assessments at various grade levels throughout the district to provide ongoing monitoring of student progress. These tests are computer adaptive, meaning the questions progressively get harder or easier depending on the student’s answers. Teachers get immediate results and know exactly where each student is at.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.” – Eric Parslow
Whether you’re turning a corner or signing your name, being left is hardly ever right. That’s because lefties are in the minority. Only about 10 percent of the population is left-handed.
At my house that computes to one out of six. Some of the time. More on that later.
Sequestration – What is It?
Words do matter. Merriam-Webster.com, defines the word “sequester” to mean to set apart or segregate - like a jury being sequestered during a trial. The word also has a meaning in law related to assets being held during a dispute. Both of these definitions are helpful when thinking about the implications of the most recent inaction of Congress and the president regarding the federal budget.
The warrior enters the arena prepared for battle, or at least an extensive period of intense physical, mental and vocal workout. She has marched to a similar beat on previous occasions and knows the drill as well as any sergeant. This is no rookie, but a seasoned veteran, ready to hit the bleachers with her backside and scream her lungs out for the team.
She is a sports mom, serving on the front lines as her offspring’s number one fan.
Barring an agreement between President Obama and Congress by Friday, March 1, it appears that the federal cuts known as sequestration may become a reality. Without action, funding for numerous programs, including some federal education programs, would be cut.
The immediate effect of sequestration will be limited, but if it continues (absent Congressional resolution of budget issues), the negative effect of withheld payments and reduced funding for government military and some social programs (unemployment, etc.) are predicted to have an adverse effect on the economy.
I think we all agree that in this time of increased expectations for our schools, any cuts to education pose significant challenges. The impact to our local school district could include an anticipated cut of 5.0 - 5.5 percent of federal funds that support Title 1 and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) part B.
Should sequestration become a reality, we will share specific information as soon as it becomes available. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
In the near future, the EV-W School District will begin to assemble a steering committee to coordinate the Strategic Planning process that will lead our educational system into the future. Strategic Planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. In other words, it will become an educational road map directing our district down possible avenues through which we pursue our goals and objectives.
In many organizations, this is typically viewed as a process for determining where an organization is going over the next
5 to 7 years, although some extend their vision to 20 years.
The key components of an effective strategic plan include an understanding of the district’s vision, mission, core beliefs and values. I encourage you to take part in this process and provide us with feedback as we will soon begin our strategic planning process.
Eden Valley-Watkins Elementary Spring Music Concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday,
March 11. Grades 1-2-3 will be performing the concert in the high school gymnasium. The fifth- and sixth-grade choirs will also be
Senior of the Week:
The EV-W School District would like to recognize Baylee Lahr, daughter of Brent and Vicki. Baylee excels academically and is currently taking three college classes and one honors class. She has been recognized as a CMC All-Conference volleyball player, and also pitched for the State-qualifying softball team. In addition, her leadership roles and experiences include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, NHS, and the Spanish club. The EV-W administration, faculty and staff are extremely proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations!