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State Report Card is issued: South Tama schools dip to “need improvement” assessments

December 20, 2017
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

While South Tama elementary, middle and high schools all were in the "acceptable" category in the 2016 Iowa School Report Card, each slipped into the "needs improvement" assessment in the 2017 Report Card released on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

STC schools are not alone - 28.6 percent of Iowa schools received lower ratings according to the Iowa Department of Education which is responsible for the assessments.

For South Tama schools, the elementary fell 4.9 points in ranking from the previous score; the middle school dropped 4.0 points and the high school was down just under one point.

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"We are still looking at the details of the Iowa School Report Card results for South Tama County schools, but the initial look indicates our overall and building level performances are roughly the same as the prior years," Superintendent Jeff Berger told The Chronicle just following the release by the Iowa Department of Education on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Berger took over the reins of the school district on July 1 of this year.

The Iowa School Report Card was mandated by the Iowa Legislature in 2013 and has been issued yearly since 2015. The report card is updated annually to reflect the most recent statewide student assessment results. For most measures, school ratings are based on data from the 2016-17 and 2015-16 school years according to the Department of Education.

Based on each school's performance, the report card assigns one of six ratings: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority.

"The results reinforce efforts we are taking to strengthen curriculum and instruction district-wide. The purpose of reporting like this is to highlight both strengths and areas needing improvement. We are seriously addressing the identified needs and will be able to demonstrate progress as time goes on," Berger said.

The tables provided for the evaluation show all levels of STC schools dropping the most in categories "closing gap (minority student, within school comparison) and closing gap (minority student to state average).

"Some of the indicators like graduation rate, staff retention, student attendance, and projected student growth are positive or improving. Areas where we continue to struggle and are points of emphasis moving forward include working to close achievement gaps for certain subgroups of students and ensuring our students are college /career ready," Berger said.

Commenting on the overall report, Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said, "These results reinforce the need to continue moving forward with the bold education initiatives Iowa has put in place to strengthen instruction and prepare students for success in high school and beyond. It's encouraging that we've made significant progress statewide in improving the reading skills of children in kindergarten through third grade, as shown on early literacy screening assessments given three times a year. I'm also proud that Iowa continues to lead the nation in high school graduation rates."

 
 

 

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