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Improvement plans in Grandview schools hinge on better math scores

GRANDVIEW - School board members heard from the three elementary schools in Grandview at Tuesday night's meeting and approved their school improvement plans for the 2006-07 school year.

Jaime Morales, a fifth-grade teacher and administrative intern at Harriet Thompson Elementary, told the board students at Harriet Thompson have a wide variety of activities they can participate in. This includes a reading program at the local public library, after school tutoring and enrichment at the 21st Century Learning Program and summer programs, such as Best SELF and regular summer school.

The students at Harriet Thompson improved their writing and reading skills but struggled with math, Morales said. This was blamed on the new adoption of instructional mathematics materials. Morales told the board the students and the teachers were still learning the program, noting the school district did hire two staff developers to help teachers become more effective in teaching in all areas, including mathematics.

Harriet Thompson will focus on math for 2006-07, mainly in areas of number sense, algebraic sense and measurement. The staff will also be collecting more data that represents student achievement. This will allow for a more complete view of Harriet Thompson's student achievement and how effective the plan can be on student learning.

Their goals for the new school year are to renew the Reading First grant. To do this, Harriet Thompson grade levels, kindergarten to third-grade, must achieve 50 percent or higher on the fluency DIBELS. The second goal is to have 54 percent of fourth-graders meet or exceed the benchmark for mathematics on the WASL by 2009.

A.H. Smith Elementary School Principal Diann Zavala told the board her students exceeded the standards in reading, writing and math. The largest improvement was in writing but reading rose sharply, also. Math scores were the same as last year.

She told the board their goals for next year are to look at the data they've collected and develop intervention plans for the students who need it. Zavala also praised the parent involvement at A.H. Smith.

The new principal of McClure Elementary School, Jose Rivera, told the board his school is in its second year of a three-year school improvement plan.

He told the board they will be reviewing the existing action plans and refine them so they can be implemented. They want to understand what constitutes evidence and progress toward goals and to develop strategies and the tools to gather that evidence.

Rivera showed the board a grade-level action plan detailing what the students will learn, who will teach them, the resources needed and how the learning will be measured.

He told the board his staff will invest and focus heavily on math for the new year.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss renewing administrators' contracts for next year.

The board approved the contracts for Kevin Chase, School Superintendent, Brad Shrevee, finance administrator and Minerva Morales, head of curriculum.

"Their evaluations showed they did excellent work this past school year," school board director Tim Grow, said. "Their leadership and the hard work of the teachers can be attributed to our improving WASL scores."

The Grandview School Board will meet only once in the month of July. That meeting will held Monday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m.

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