Board of Education Work Session Discusses Lexile Scores and New AG Multipurpose Facility

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, August 12, 2023

The School Board met for a work session on August 7th. The School Board heard a proposal from SRJ architects for a livestock facility and cannery at the high school to be built with ESEA funding. The board plans to build an AG multipurpose facility and canning plant. The proposal called for a 2,666 square foot metal building with staging areas and an area for unloading animals. SRJ was chosen to give the proposal due to its history with similar projects. The current estimate for costs is five million. The facility would include concession stands and public restrooms as well as a show area.
The Board also renewed its Imagine Learning digital library for high school students at the annual cost of $53,495.60. The cost is already budgeted.
The Board also reviewed students reading comprehension as measured by Lexile scores. The percentage of students at grade level or above according to Lexile scores was 43 percent for 3rd grade, 34 percent for 4th grade, 42.5 percent for 5th grade, 38.9 percent for 6th grade, 61.4 percent for 7th grade and 53.3 percent for 8th grade.
With proficiency constituting a C, percentage of proficiencies in math scores by grade were 15.7 percent, 8.2 percent, 10.8 percent, 6.2 percent, 7.5 percent, 6.9 percent, 7.5 percent, 6.9 percent. Proficiency scores for science for 5th and 8th grade were 15.7 percent and 10.3 percent respectively.
Superintendent Walter Knighton addressed the situation. “We are making no excuses about where we are. We went virtual for an entire year. We have significant progress as I mentioned before. We’ve seen some increases in our milestone scores from last year.”
The board continued to review reasons for low scores. Students having difficulty answering specific questions was identified as a potential issue concerning Lexile scores. Specific gaps in learning was another issue that was identified. Superintendent Knighton said that the school has been working with teachers over the summer to identify standards and plans to address the issue.
The board discussed the summer program, which has seen significant increases in scores of participants.
The board discussed supplemental resources using ESEA funding, including virtual field trips, and sound walls that teach students how to sound out words as opposed to older models that focused on spelling. Also, focus was put on practical skills like reading a calendar and telling time on analog clocks, skills that also help students solve word problems on tests.
The board also discussed the expenditure during a recent leadership retreat of $55,000 for 80 personnel including principles, teachers, and media specialists from all schools. The retreat was designed to facilitate planning.
The fund balance as of July 1st is projected to be $5,462,903.60, however the final report has not been made.
A one-time supplement of $1000 was made to the salary of 35 custodians by the state board of education with ESEA funding.
Two buses were put up for surplus. A recommendation was made by the academic department and school to recoat the gym floors and the board approved.