SHAFTSBURY — Principal Jeff Johnson and Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Curriculum Director Laura Boudreau gave a presentation last week on the academic state of Shaftsbury Elementary School.
For several years, Shaftsbury, like the other schools in the SU, has been implementing a "multi-tiered system of support" (MTSS) with basic classroom instruction as the first tier, and then more targeted instruction for students who seem to be lagging behind as the second and third tiers. Teachers are also using data from Measures of Academic Progress testing, which is taken by students several times a year, to identify and address academic weaknesses.
Johnson said the school has also implemented an MTSS for students' emotional and behavioral development. He said it's been well-received by the students and the staff.
"Parents say it has made a positive impact," he said.
On the MAP tests, Johnson said the goal is for grade three and four students' scores to improve 2 to 5 percent in math and reading over the course of a school year. Last year, the overall math growth rate was 4.7 percent, and the overall reading growth rate was 5.8 percent.
In the 2015-2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests, Shaftsbury students performed below the state average in both math and English: 52 percent of third-graders scored proficient or above in math, compared to 55 percent state-wide. This trend held true in third grade English (36 percent scored proficient or above, compared to 53 percent statewide), fourth grade math (35 to 49), fourth grade English (25 to 52), fifth grade math (40 to 42), fifth grade English (55 to 57), sixth grade math (31 to 40), and sixth grade English (53 to 55). On five of the eight tests, Shaftsbury students did score higher than the SVSU averages.
For this school year, the administrators aim for 42 to 45 percent of students to score proficient or above on the SBAC exams in math, and 45 to 48 percent in English. In order to meet these goals, the district will use targeted interventions and a data-driven decision making process. The school is also engaging in before and after school tutoring and is using a district math coach, provided by the Agency of Education, who works with teachers. These goal scores would represent an increase of roughly 2 to 5 percentage points in math and a 3 to 6 percent increase in English.
The first two years of statewide SBAC tests are being used only to form a baseline. Beginning with this year's tests, however, the state will hold schools accountable for their results. Act 60 and No Child Left Behind give the Secretary of Education the authority to determine whether schools are making "Adequate Yearly Progress."
The Shaftsbury School Board meets the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Shaftsbury Elementary School. Full recordings of the meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.
Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.