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September 10, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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September 10, 2015
 

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CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, Septembe 10, 2015 II .. i. "1 i .rl. School district includes a variety of tests to monitor student academic progress By JOHN McCALLUM Editor Much has been made - and some- times not too positive - in the media about K-12 students academic prog- ress, or in some cases lack thereoL as measured through the national Smarter Balance Assessment methods. When it comes to determining how well their students are learning, Cheney School District officials seek a different path, or more accurately, paths to aug- ment the national assessment. According to results from the Mea- sures of Academic Progress (MAP), Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) and the WAKIDS inventory of skills given to kindergartners, Cheney students met, and in most cases ex- ceeded mean expectations in English language arts and mathematics during the 2014-2015 school year. By contrast, results from the Smarter Balance testing, obtained through the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, showed Cheney students in grades 3-8 below the state average in both categories, while students in the 11th grade were significantly above, 22.2 percent compared to 13.6 percent in math and 40.8 percent compared to 26 percent in language arts. The difference in the assessments is that Smarter Balance is currently administered only once per year, gen- erally in the spring, whereas the MAP, DRA and WAKIDS are given several times over the course of instruction. "We certainly will take the Smarter Balance Assessment results into ac- count as we review our progress this year," Assistant Superintendent Sean Dotson said in an email, adding that the process has already begun. "These (SBA) scores give us a base- line, but with only one data point, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions or base significant decisions on this test," Dotson continued. "We prefer to look at multiple data points rather than basing decisions on one snapshot of student performance." The MAP tests are given each quar- ter and are aligned with Common Core standards. Accordirtg to results pre- sented at the Cheney School District's board of directors meeting Aug. 19, student growth in math in grades K-9 exceeded projected mean expectations, and in all but one instance - kinder- garten - by good amounts. The same mostly held true for K-8 students in reading, with the exception of first grade where students fell just short of expectations and second and third grades where they barely exceeded. The state of Washington requires the DRA be given in the second grade, however Cheney elects to apply this as- sessment to students in K-5, with some use in middle school. Results from last year varied, with the assessment given twice at some grade levels and three times in others. In first grade, students reading levels attained 81 percent pro- ficiency, but fell off over the next two assessments "These (SBA) scores give us a baseline, but with only one data point, it is difficult to draw definitive conclu- sions or base significant decisions on this test." Cheney School District Associate Superintendent Sean Dotson to finish at 58 percent. In second grade, they originally tested at 57 percent, climbed to 72 percent on the second assessment before ending at 70 percent after the third. Third-graders hovered between 62 - 65 percent over three assess- ments, while fourth-graders climbefl from 61 percent on the first assess- ment to 72 percent on the third, and fifth-graders went from a start of 50 percent to end of year assessment of 79 percent. Finally, the WAKIDS assessment, which tests kindergartners in six do- mains or skills, showed 92 percent of students are beginning their academic careers at the appropriate developmen- tal level in literacy, and 82 percent do- ing the same in math. Last year, only 69 percent achieved this level in math. The difference, Dotson said, was the district's approach to Students enter- ing kindergarten. Parents were given more information on how to work with their children through things such as the Ready for Kindergarten program and the distribution of ma- terials and educa- tional toys. "Simple steps we encourage parents to take include reading to children daily, counting with them and point out numbers, letters and words in the world around them," Dotson said. Dotson said the SBA is now provid- ing assessments that can be given more frequently, and the district intends to evaluate these in conjunction with its current assessments over the coming school year. "Our goal is to make sure teachers have the information they need about student achievement and student growth to make good instructional decisions," he added. John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com. rns to Im; rn administration Medical Lake alum middle school assistant principal By AL STOVER S taft Reporter Medical Lake Middle School students and parents may notice a new face in the hallwavs and at the main office. Tim Cruger joined the Medical Lake School District as the middle school's new assistant principal. Cruger grew up in the Hillyard area of Spokane before moving to Medical Lake where he attended ju- nior high and high school. He said he has a lot of fam- ily in the area and Medical Lake is "near and dear" to his heart. "I'm excited to start my administrative career in my old stomping grounds," Cru- get said. After receiving his bach- elors degree from Eastern Washington University, Cru- ger took a teaching position at Lakeside High School, where he spent 16 years teaching math and health, as well as coaching wrestling, football and track. He also started several student orga- nizations, such as a robotics club and a community ser- vices club. "We helped at the animal shelter, we also went to City Gate and did some roadside clean up'," Cruger said. "I also helped start a mentoring club where high school stu- dents would mentor incom- ing freshmen. It was tough for me to leave Lakeside." Cruger, who earned a masters degree from Whir- worth University in 2013, decided it was an appropri- ate time to move into admin- istration after he and his wife had their first child. "Being in administration allows me a little freedom in my schedule, in case I have to leave for something like a doctor's appointment," Cruger said. "When this position opened, I felt led to it. I heard rave reviews about the district and staff. Superintendent Tim Ames was very personable when I interviewed with him/' Cruger added that Medical Lake is a melting pot, made up of people from different corners of the world, partially due to the close proximity of Fairchild Air Force Base and military families living in the area. Now that he is on the job, Cruger said he is excited to help continue the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program at the middle school. The district introduced PBIS last year and the middle school cre- ated a student-led group. Cru- ger is also working on learning the students' names, helping shape the culture on campus and getting to know the com- munity. He is also taking on the role of a student, learning under principal Sylvia Campbell. "The first couple of years are a steep learning curve, I'm going to be in a position to be a student and under folks who are good at their trade," Cruger said. "1 want to honor what's been done here so far, learn what has been done. I've come here to Contributed photo by Medical Lake School District -Iqm Cruger taught at Lakeside High School for 16 years be- fore he became the Medical Lake Middle School assistant principal. offer what I can to make this a better place." AI Stover can be reached at al@cheney.l:reepress.com. History nd writin classes come to th Cheney Care C nter By AL STOVER Washington University ago, taught history atp.m. In the class, stu- workshop in Medical sometimes we do a little Staff Reporter professor, will guide Spokane Falls Commu- dents will use their m- Lake before it moved to bit of crying." For retirees who want students through the life nity College. sights and imaginationthe care center. For the . The cost of the history to brush up on their his- of President Abraham "I enjoy teaching into generate stories, skits workshop, Conger gives class is $42 while the tory or creative writing, Lincoln, from his daysfront of my peers," Don- and or poetry, as well as her students a writing creative writing class is the Community Col- as a prairie lawyer to his ley said in reference to sharpen their writing prompt for the following $58. To register, students leges of Spokane is of- later years, the course about Presi- skills, week. Her main guide-print and fill out an appli- fering two ACT 2 classes"I'll touch upon dent Lincoln. "There Conger has taught line for the prompt is to cationfromCCSwebsite through its extended things like Lincoln's Sec- are no reading assign-creative writing and po- write,"what needs to be http://sccel.spokane. learning program at the ond InauguralAddress, ments. This is for an etry since 2000. She is a written." edu/ACT-2.aspx. They Cheney Care Center. which extends the handolder group who wants published poet and has "Most of them are can fax their application The first class is '~The to citizens who rebelled to listen. Hopefully it art on display in sev-sharing their life stories (509) 279-6030 or mail it Lincoln Legend: 150th during the Civil War, triggers an extended eral local galleries. She while there are some who to Non-Credit Registra- Anniversary of His and the Gettysburg Ad-discussion." is also a member of the write fiction and poetry," tion, 2917 W. Ft. George Death," which will be dress." Donley said. "ItThe second class is National Poetry Therapy Conger said "I enjoy this Wright Drive - MS 3027, taught every Monday, articulates what we'd a writers' workshop Association. class becausepeoplewho Spokane, WA99224. from 9-11 a.m. from like to be as a nation." with Lisa Conger, every Some folks may rec- sign up are lifelong learn- A1Stover can be reached Sept. 21 to Oct. 26. Dick Donley, who retired Thursday from Sept. 24ognize Conger as she ers. Sometimes we do a at al@cheneyfreepress. Donley, a retired Eastern from Eastern 15 years toOct. 19,from1:30-3:30 previously held the little bit of laughing and com. The best chicken and fish in town/ Side Orders: Mashed Potatoes & Gravy Corn Green Beans Macaroni & Cheese Potato Wedges MRcheH's Tui~', Colf~ 116 W. 1st, Cheney, WA. 235-4222 VISIT US a:~~