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News :: Shellsburg restructuring: Superintendent lists options
· 11:40am October 24th, 2013
The No Child Left Behind law has been in place for several years. The goal of the federal law is that every student in the United States is proficient in math and reading. School districts assess students from third grade through their junior year in high school. The students’ results are compiled and reviewed by the state. Based on the results, school buildings and school districts can be identified as either a School-in-Need-of-Assistance (SINA) or a District-in-Need-of-Assistance (DINA). If a SINA school receives Title I funding, then there are sanctions that are enacted and they become progressively more harsh the longer a building is on the list.
For the 2012-13 year, for reading, Shellsburg, the middle school and the high school are identified as SINA. For math, Shellsburg, Tilford and the Middle School are identified as SINA. Unfortunately, Shellsburg has been on the SINA list for reading for several years and we receive Title I funding which means the sanctions are imposed on us are harsher than last year’s or the previous years’ sanctions. Because they are a SINA4 (four years), we have to submit a “restructuring” plan to the Iowa Department of Education. There are various options of what meets the definition of restructuring.
To best review the options, we have asked our School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) to assist with the work. This group is a combination of staff, parents and community members and has been in place for many years. They held their first meeting in early October and have more scheduled for this fall and winter. The first meeting included reviewing our data and the state’s guidance on restructuring. They discussed the various options and identified which ones might be the most viable options for us to consider. The next meeting will focus on the details of the options. Ultimately, they will make a recommendation concerning which restructuring option would be the most likely to lead to more students’ being proficient. I anticipate they will make this recommendation in February to the school board.
I hesitate to put down what the options include as no decisions have been made and I do not want to imply major changes will be happening; some options would not be as dramatic change as others. Some of the options the committee wants to continue exploring include:
· Replace all or most of the school staff – which would probably mean that most staff would teach in other grades or other buildings as most are guaranteed to have a contract next year.
· Pair the school with a higher performing school – which would probably mean pairing with Tilford (that is not on the SINA list for reading) or another building in another district.
· Implement a Response-to-Intervention plan – which means we expand our RtI efforts (how we respond when students are not proficient).
· Realign the grades served – instead of being a single section K-4 building plus all of the district’s fifth graders, realign so perhaps all 4th and 5thattend Shellsburg while all K-3 attend Tilford.
· Dissolve the school and assign students to other schools in the district – for example, all K-4 could attend Tilford with fifth at the Middle School or all K-5 could attend Tilford.
Every option has pros and cons to consider; the challenge will be to determine which pros outweigh the cons plus lead to greater student achievement.
If you have questions about the process or the sanctions, please call 319-436-4728, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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