Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2002

BES talks about list

Board hears solutions to state assessment scores

November 13, 2002

It's known at Baldwin Elementary School as "the list," and the faculty does not consider it an honor to be a school named on it.

"We want to get off that list," Tom Mundinger, BES principal, said.

Mundinger told the Baldwin Board of Education Monday night that the list refers to a number of Kansas schools, only those that receive Title I funds, that did not show adequate progress on state assessment tests. He said the lack of progress refers only to students scoring in the unsatisfactory or basic categories on the state assessments. It does not apply to all students.

Baldwin schools receive Title I funding based on the number of students that receive free meals. The funding received is used to help students that score below the 40th percentile on reading and math.

Mundinger presented the school board with a handout comparing BES state assessment scores with Lawrence schools and explaining why the school made the list, despite above average scores on the tests.

Under the old formula used by the state, he said a number of factors played into making the list, including the fact that the Baldwin School District set the standards high for Title I.

But there is a new formula being used that will apply to all 1,600 Kansas schools in a few years, he said, not just the ones that receive Title I funding.

"With this formula, in 12 years, the goal is to have 100 percent scoring satisfactory or above on state assessments," he said.

But BES is not waiting for the new formula to come into place to make changes at the school.

"To get off the list, we have to make adequate yearly progress two years in a row," he said. "I can guarantee you that since August this year, when it comes to state assessments, we have focused, focused, focused. The kids have gotten the clear message that the state assessments are important."

Mundinger said one of the ways BES is trying to improve in the state assessments is with the help of an after-school program called MARS.

MARS, which stands for Math and Reading Support, allows students to receive 30 minutes of extra help in math or reading by doing a number of activities. Students must be invited by the school to attend the after-school sessions.

"We're trying to make it a positive experience for them," he said. "We think the program is going to make a big difference."

BES state assessment scores can be viewed online at www.ksde.org under the building report card section.

"We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to be embarrassed about," Mundinger said. "But we don't want to be on the list."

In other business, the school board:

  • Discussed not making any changes to the district's drug, alcohol and tobacco use policy, with the exception of making minor word changes.

Supt. James White said the administrators felt the policy, which was written a few years ago by administrators, coaches and parents, was still effective.

"It's the consensus of the administrative team that the policies do not need to change," White said.

The board will make a final decision on the policy at the Dec. 9 meeting.

  • Approved in a 5-0 vote a 15-year lease with the Friends of the Baldwin City Recreation Committee for land use near the new elementary school for soccer fields. Board President Ed Schulte and Board Member Alison Bauer were absent from Monday's meeting.

Friends of the BCRC is applying for a $100,000 grant to build a full-sized field, two intermediate fields and three micro-fields on the leased land. Under the agreement, the school district will also have use of the fields.

  • Discussed starting the 2003-2004 school year two weeks later than normal, possibly around the first of September. There is concern the new water tower that will be built at the elementary school site won't be complete in time for the start of school in mid-August, leaving the new elementary school without water.

The district will confer with the city about the water tower contract and details before making a decision.

  • White told the board that it is possible the state could cut funding to schools next year anywhere between $100 to $300 per student, which could cost the district $500,000.

He said he told administrators, that because the district already made several cuts this year, to start looking at a 1.0 FTE teaching cut at each of the buildings for the 2003-2004 school year.

"We're going to have to be dealing with some major cuts," he said. "We might have to cut certified staff."

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