February 6, 2013
ISAT Testing: Testing for grades 3-5 begins the first week of March and goes for two weeks. There are some significant changes for this year’s test.
- The cut scores have been changed by two grade levels as of two weeks ago. This means that a score that met expectations in 5th grade will now only meet expectations for a 3rd grader. This means that many students who have passed the test in the past, may not pass this year.
- 30% of the test questions will be aligned with the new common core standards as opposed to the old Illinois Learning Standards. The teachers have been using content and materials that are aligned with the new standards, however, they still have to cover the old standards as the State of Illinois has not received a waiver from the requirement of the No Child Left Behind law. Next year, and additional 30% of the questions will be aligned to the new standards, and in 2015-16 the entire test will be aligned with the new standards.
- In theory, the 15-16 test will be the new baseline for improving scores.
MAP and DORA Testing
- In December all students completed the 2nd of three rounds of standardized testing in both English and Spanish. Results were shared at the 2nd round of parent teacher conferences or sent home with report cards. The third round of the MAP test is used as part of the district promotion criteria.
After school academic programs:
- 50 students are in our second group for the Title 1 after school program. This is spread out between grades 1-5 in both English and Spanish. A third group will be chosen for after ISATS.
- Additional students were offered free tutoring through other state authorized tutoring companies. Approximately thirty students have been enrolled in these programs.
- Sixty students in grades 4 and 5 are signed up for an 8 session basketball program. This is for boys and girls with 4th graders on Wednesday and 5th graders on Thursday. This will be followed by a new group for 8 sessions of floor hockey. It is run by Mr. Hoge and Ms. Corless. The cost is $60.00 per day for the two teachers. We have asked for small donations to defer the cost.
- A group of twenty students in grades 4 and 5 has been chosen for a before school gifted art program. This is on Tuesday mornings before school and is funded by the district office. It is taught by Ms. Larsen.
- A group of approximately fifty 4th and 5th grade students learns sign language before school on Thursdays. This is open to all students and is taught and funded by the Eisenhower Special Education Cooperative. This is a unique opportunity not offered at any other area schools.
- We now have a Drama Club for thirty 4th and 5th graders that meets on Wednesday mornings before school. The students will present a play that includes parts in both English and Spanish. This is organized and directed by Ms. Cullen (4th grade dual language) with help from Mrs. Castillo (new 5th grade teacher).
- Mrs. Montgomery is doing the yearbook again this year. It was very popular last year when sold for $21.00. The photographer was at school on Tuesday to photograph student groups and some new teachers. Order forms will be sent home in the near future. A big thanks to Mrs. Montgomery for this giant task.
- Mrs. Gainer is coordinating a Valentine’s Day craft this Friday. This is the reward for all students who did not receive discipline referrals in January. Ten students at NHI had discipline referrals in January (this is down from last year), and twenty-nine students at NHP had referrals in January (this was up from twenty-seven last year). We have shared the problem areas and issues with the staff so that they can re-teach these expectations in the classroom.
- Mrs. Gainer and I are in the middle of evaluating twenty-eight non-tenured teachers this year. We are using a pilot version of the new state required teacher evaluation system. This system is based on specific evidence derived from formal observations. All district administrators went through between twenty-five and fifty hours of training prior to implementing this new system.
- The two new parent liaisons will be available to meet and work with parents every Friday at Nathan Hale. They have a desk at NHI and will be available to answer questions provide parents with ideas for helping their children.
- Nathan Hale is piloting a new and unique screening process as part of our Response to Intervention process. This new model allows us to use some more targeted assessments with students to get a better idea as to the specific processing challenges of our students. We will be reporting to the district office once we have completed this process with ten students. As part of this process, we have also begun training parents to work directly with students using a new multi-sensory reading instruction system. Let me know if you are interested in being a part of this.
- We are working with the entire staff to develop a new three year plan with the stated goal of all students reading at grade level. As part of this process, we have surveyed all staff and these results will be reviewed by our school leadership team, and our community leadership team. Once this plan is fully developed it will be shared with all families. We are also working to develop parent/staff teams that will work to support this goal of all children reading at grade level.
- We now have a SMART Board in all thirty-five regular education and special education classrooms. We are now working to add one to the ESL classroom, the art room, and the music room. We are hopeful that this can be accomplished via scholastic dollars this school year. Based on teacher survey results, we are now working to have a document camera (Lady Bug) in every classroom. We have over ten at this time and will be adding them as the funds become available. The teachers also see the value in adding an I-Pad to each room. These can be used via a wireless app to connect to the SMART Board and project all of the great educational content on the I-PAD.
Dr. James B. Duggan
Assistant Principal's Message
Message from Mrs. Bridget Gainer coming soon!