Happy New Year!
As we enter into the second semester of the school year, it is encouraging to see the progress the West Branch Community School District is making on important initiatives.
Here are a few of our recognized strengths:
- One of the highest graduation rates in the region. (96% – 98% annually)
- One of the highest average daily attendance rates in the region. (95% – 97% annually)
- A regional leader in the implementation of early literacy screening and the use of data to inform reading instruction. Triennium data regarding proficiency scores in reading continue to show steady growth at Hoover Elementary School. The work is expanding to the secondary level and we are looking to implement similar models to improve math instruction.
- 131 WBHS students earned 815 college credits last year. Kirkwood Community College’s “Impact Study” demonstrated that the tuition savings to WBHS students and their families during the 2016-2017 school year was over $125,000. For perspective, students in a nearby 3A district earned 835 credits.
- An instructional culture where the “status quo” is not good enough for our students i.e. growing use of personalized, project-based, blending teaching strategies, “J-Term and Genius Hour,” standards-based lesson planning and assessment (just like in the real work world), multiple-years with (1:1) laptop program in grades 4 – 12 and a (2:1) iPad program in grades PK-3, instructional coaching supports, robotics and computer science courses, increases in school-to-work opportunities (ACE program) and the expectation for routine, one-on-one conversations between principals and teachers.
- Our staff knows our students!
Recognized areas for improvement:
- Close the achievement gap between identified student subgroups when compared to non-subgroup students.
- Combating bullying and societal issues by maintaining safe, productive, non-threatening learning environments and improving our social emotional intervention and supports.
- Promoting authentic partnerships and involvement with our parents.
- Improving the timeliness of communications in several areas.
Iowa School Report Cards:
The Iowa Department of Education has released its annual school report cards based on 2016-2017 data. The system uses “weighted metrics” that include: two-year proficiency and academic growth scores, student subgroup scores, attendance and graduation rates, staff retention rates and college-readiness data. The “report card” assigns one of six ratings: Exceptional, High Performing, Commendable, Acceptable and Needs Improvement. Results: Hoover Elementary School (Commendable = rating improvement), West Branch Middle School (Acceptable = same rating), West Branch High School (Acceptable = drop in rating)
Only 20.5% of Iowa’s schools received improved ratings for the 2016-2017 school year. This means that 79.5% of Iowa’s schools received a similar or lower rating in 2016-2017. Naturally, the metrics have evolved again. Non-public schools (schools without geographical boundaries) are not subject to the rating system. http://reports.educateiowa.gov/schoolreportcard.
The next School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 22, 2018, Hoover Elem. Library, 6:30 pm. Agenda: IASB Survey Results & Facilities. Everyone is invited!