School Board prepares for student assessments

By Daniel Brunty
The Winston County Journal

The Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees discussed upcoming student assessments, as well as furthering the education of teachers within the district during their regular meeting held on Nov. 18 at the LMSD main office.

Presenting the discussions regarding teachers participating in the National Board test and the upcoming MKAS & 3rd Grade Summative Assessments was LMSD Director of Curriculum & Personnel Penny Hill. Hill began by discussing the possibility of helping teachers in the district pay for a portion of their National Board Test fees.

A director from the MSU World Class teaching Program as well as Hill had addressed the board during their last regular meeting held in October regarding teachers within the district taking the National Board Certification Assessment. With this being a voluntary assessment, National Board Certification is awarded by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to teachers meeting rigorous requirements through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment, and peer review.

In addition to a $6,000 annual supplement that NBC-ranked teachers receive in Mississippi, their students also benefit greatly. The certification process ensures that teachers analyze their own practices, and the results lead to improved teaching skills. LMSD already has the largest amount of teachers singed up with the program.

Hill was at this meeting to explain to the board members how the district and teachers can be reimbursed for courses completed to receive their certification. She went on to explain how there are four components to the certification, and the total cost of all four is $1900 ($475 per component). Components 1 & 2 are available this year, while Component 3 will be available in 2015-2016 and Component 4 in 2016-17.

Hill presented the following proposal to the board:

The teacher will pay for his/her first component (1 or 2) and the district will pay a one-time payment for the other.

The teacher will pay for his/her third component and the district will pay a one-time payment for the fourth component.

If a teacher does NOT complete all four components or leaves the district within three years of obtaining National Board Certification, he/she will have to reimburse the district for the entire amount paid by the district.

After a brief discussion, the board made a motion to approve the proposal. The motion passed unanimously.

The next topic of discussion was regarding the upcoming MKAS and 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessments. The 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment component will be summative and will determine the minimum level of competency in reading and be administered each spring. Students will have the ability to retest on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment as districts deem appropriate.

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment will provide parents, teachers, and early childhood providers with a common understanding of what children know and are able to do upon entering school. The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment will also be used to measure how well Pre-K programs prepare four-year-olds to be ready for kindergarten based upon the Mississippi Early Learning Standards for Classrooms Serving Four-Year-Old Children. The primary purpose of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment is to improve the quality of classroom instruction and other services provided to students from birth to 3rd grade.

Hill gave a PowerPoint presentation which projects scores for students within the district. Hill explained how the district at this time had a scale score average of 502, which is one point over to the overall state average of 501. The K-Readiness Benchmark Target Score is 530.

By using these projections, Hill concluded that Nanih Waiya and Noxapater students have 15% of their students scoring below the average. With Louisville Elementary School having more students, their average score for their students was 57%.

Next, Hill gave the basic facts regarding the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment. Those are:
Administered April 10-23, 2015

50 item, multiple-choice test with multiple passages

Scores will be available to students immediately after testing

Cut score (refers to the lowest possible score on an exam, standardized test, high-stakes test, or other form of assessment that a student must earn to either “pass” or be considered “proficient”) for retention will be set May 15, 2015

Pass/fail rosters will be given to districts as soon as cut score is set

1st Re-test is June 29-Aug. 7, 2015 ONLY after providing documentation that a student has received remediation in deficit areas

Good cause exemptions – have to provide documentation on intensive interventions on certain sped students and on regular ed. students who are two or more grades behind

Superintendent Ken McMullan expressed his concern with a number of the LES students not being enrolled in the DREAMS program. Hill stated by doing these early assessments, they will be able to determine the students that are in need of additional remediation.

One of the main thoughts that were discussed was how to get the parents more involved and informed regarding the upcoming assessments. Another thought that was mentioned was what the district would do to provide remediation to students who fail the exam, which would lead to having summer school to do so.

In other parts of the meeting, the board:

Approved agenda
Approved consent agenda
Approved Claims Docket & October 2014 Agency/Activity fund checks
Approved October 2014 bank balances & financial reports
Approved Dyslexia Screening Policy
Approved Indian Policies and Procedures Impact Aid Policy
Approved School Occupational Safety & Crisis Response Plan
Approved Rural and Low-Income School Program Grant in the amount of $52,856 for the 2014-2015 school year
Approved Textbook Selection & Adoption Policy
No action taken regarding update on Medicaid Screenings
Approved to advertise *****
Approved to cancel a 2.2 acre residential lease on William C. Carter for non-payment of this lease on 16-13-12 (Noxapater)
Approved to cancel a 1 acre recreational lease on Jimmie and Ethel Young as requested by the lessee on 16-14-12 (Center Ridge)
Approved a new 1 acre residential lease for James Eichelberger on 16-14-12 (Center Ridge)
Approved to change the name of the John Craig hunting lease to Wasilla Valley Hunting Organization LLC as requested by Mr. Craig on 16-15-14 (Graveyard)
Discussed and approved policies updated and/or revisions, some mandated by legislature.

The Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees will hold their next regular meeting on Dec. 16 at the LMSD main office.