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ViewSHERIDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT 2
Board of Education Recap August 24th,2017

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

Contact: Mark Stevens

mstevens@ssd2.org

303-495-8699 (mobile) • 720-328-5488 (office)

News Release

Aug. 23, 2017

Board Studies Bright Spots and Challenges with Academic Growth

The Sheridan Board of Education this week studied the mixed bag of growth data based on test score results from the Colorado Department of Education. The report showed positive trends in growth scores in English Language Arts results and major challenges in Mathematics.

“There are some things we want to celebrate and some areas we probably want to look at,” said Data and Assessment Manager Kirk Henwood. “Our literacy data is generally strong and moving in the right direction. Math has had less focus and I would like to believe if we apply the same focus and intensity in math, without losing it in literacy, we should see some growth.”

The results cover grades four through nine under the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) program and show the growth rates from one year to the next. For instance, in eighth grade English Language Arts, students in 2016-2017 school year scored at the 63rd median growth percentile. That was well above the state (the 50th percentile) and well above students in the year before, who scored at the 48th percentile.

Growth in English Language Arts was demonstrated in five of the seven grades tested and, overall, growth in the district climbed from 51 to 53 (above the state average). In math, by comparison, only two of the seven grade levels showed improvement and only one (sixth grade) ended above the state median with a 53.

Henwood noted the increase on English Language Arts for four major sub-group of students, including those who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (a commonly used barometer for poverty), minority students, English language learners, and students with Individualized Education Plans. In fact, all four sub-groups performed above state averages.

In math, however, only two of the seven grade levels showed improvement and only one (sixth grade) ended above the state median with a 53.

Unified Improvement Plan

Jackie Webb, Deputy Superintendent, and Pat Sandos, Executive Director of School Services and Student Behavioral and Emotional Supports, reviewed key elements and progress under the district’s Unified Improvement Plan (UIP).

The UIP calls for an aligned curriculum, high quality instruction and continuous improvement within a safe and supportive learning environment. Webb told the board that schools have recognized the need to build the capacity for understanding on the application of a standards-based curriculum and they have also asked for strategies to boost academic rigor. The district is working with schools, she said, to “map” needs and identify common issues among schools.

Sandos noted a series of improvements with The Sheridan Way, a plan to bring consistency to shore up the work to improve the quality of the learning environment. Sandos pointed to a strengthened mental health team that is working to improve social and emotional supports for students. He said schools now use matching approaches to behavior issues, which helps both students and parents understand consequences for various infractions (and not have to learn each school’s approach as their children move through the system).

The district is working to boost parent participation in perception surveys, he said, and is encouraging use of Safe 2 Tell, a tool that allows students to anonymously report concerns about school safety. Schools are also planning drills around the district’s standard response protocols to ensure safety of students during school lockdowns and lockouts. The district is also working close with the Juvenile Assessment Center to improve its management of truancy issues.

Khan Academy

Sheridan High School instructional coach Shanna Ryan and the district’s Director of Technology, Tim Luth, briefed the board on a panel discussion they participated in at the Colorado Association of School Executives annual conference in July. The discussion involved Sheridan’s increased use of Khan Academy to bolster classroom instruction and preparation for SAT, the college entrance examination. Ryan told the board that Khan Academy, a free online source for courses, has been making changes to its service to supplement core high school needs.

Attendance

The board continued its discussion on improving student and teacher attendance. Superintendent Michael Clough said the district will join Sheridan Educators Association in providing incentives for schools to compete for the highest rates of attendance among students and staff. The work includes decreasing the number of students who are tardy to class, particularly in the high school.

Superintendent Clough said an analysis of recent attendance records of the 2017 valedictorians and salutatorians at the high school showed what you might expect—each missed only one day of class for each semester. That’s compared with the average of 18 school days missed in Sheridan for the average student, an attendance rate of 93 percent.

An analysis of students who posted a 23 or better on their SAT scores—a score that indicates college readiness—shows a mixed record. This group was nearly at the district average, missing 17.2 days (more than three full weeks) of class. However, one student’s extremely high absenteeism rate may have skewed those numbers, said Clough, and the true average may only be eight days per each school year, far below the average of 18.

Absenteeism is a problem across the board, said Clough, and the district has to work on improving the total number of days each year when students are being taught by a highly-qualified teacher.

Community Barbecue

A huge crowd turned at Sheridan High School for the annual community barbecue on Aug. 16, co-sponsored by Sheridan School District 2 and the Sheridan Educators Association. “I thought it went really well,” said SEA president Peter Morris. “It was a truly great event,” echoed Deputy Superintendent Jackie Webb. This year, only about 900 hot dogs were served—down a few hundred from years past—but many observers said the crowd was as large—or larger—than prior years.

Consent Agenda

All consent agenda items were approved.

About Sheridan School District 2

Located southwest of Denver, Sheridan School District 2 seeks high-level post-secondary options for all students through continuous improvement of quality instruction. More: www.ssd2.org

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Sheridan School District NO.2
4150 South Hazel Court
Englewood, Colorado 80110
email: info@ssd2.org
phone: (720) 833-6991
fax: (720) 833-6650