AYP no issue in Germantown Hills

DeWayne Bartels

Paying attention to the needs of students who need help in reading or math has paid off for the Germantown Hills School District. The small district made Adequate Yearly Progress on the State Report Card for 2011.

So, what does it take to provide that attention?

“It takes time, money and patience,” said Superintendent James Dansart.

There were some small decreases and increases seen within the test scores.

However, Dansart said he does not sweat the small decreases in scores.

“This is just an overall snapshot of the school,” he said.

“Small variances don’t concern us.”

But, there is a number in the report this year that does concern Dansart. It is the number showing low-income students within the district at the middle school rose 1 percentage point from 8.3 percent in 2010 to 9.3 percent in 2011.

At the elementary school the number of low-income students dropped slightly from 10.5 percent in 2010 to 10.2 percent in 2011.  

“We are starting to see the low-income student body growing. As that population grows your scores can fall,” Dansart said.

Dansart said the district is prepared to meet any challenges that may present themselves as the low-income population grows.  

Breakdown

 In every area and grade tested the district scored high, and very high when compared to the state averages.  

To make Adequate Yearly Progress this year 85 percent of a school’s students had to meet or exceed standards on the tests.

“We are very pleased with our scores,” Dansart said.

On overall performance on all state tests the district scored 95.5 percent in 2011.

Last year the district scored 94.9 percent. The state average was 76.5 percent in 2011.

A breakdown of some of the scores  received by Germantown Hills students on the Illinois State Achievement Test follow:

• Third graders in reading scored 88.9 percent in 2011, down from 93.2 in 2010.

• Third graders in math scored 96.7 percent in 2011, up from 94.9 percent in 2010.  

• Fourth graders in science scored 95.2 percent in 2011, down from 97.6 percent in 2010.

• Fourth graders in reading scored 93.5 percent in 2011, up from 91.8 percent in 2010.

• Fifth graders in math scored 97.6 percent in 2011, the exact same percentage seen in 2010.

• Fifth graders saw reading scores increase to 97.7 percent in 2011 from 95.4 percent in 2010.

• Sixth grade scores showed increases in both math and reading. Math scores rose to 97.4 percent in 2011 from 97.2 percent in 2010. Reading scores went up to 98.7 percent in 2011 from 94.5 percent in 2010.   

• In the seventh grade reading and math scores rose. Reading scores rose to 94.7 percent in 2001 from 93.2 percent in 2010. Math scores rose to 97.4 percent in 2011 from 94.7 percent in 2010.

• Science scores, however, fell for seventh graders. In 2011 the score was 96.5 percent, down from 97.7 percent in 2010.

• In eighth grade reading scores fell very slightly from 95.5 percent in 2010 to 95.3 percent in 2011.

• In eighth grade math scores, however, rose significantly from 92.7 percent in 2010 to 96.9 percent in 2011.

Paying attention

Students with learning disabilities did well. Dansart said that was no surprise to him.

“We do benchmark testing with all our kids. We are ahead of the curve then with interventions where they are needed,” Dansart said.

“We pre-test our kids when they come in and then test them throughout the year. We test four times a year. That provides us a way to find a student’s needs. We even started with that in kindergarten this year. It is very helpful. The sooner you know what their needs are the sooner you can address their needs.”

Not content

Dansart said the scores, overall, are very pleasing to him.

Yet, he said he and other superintendents with schools feeding into Metamora Township High School are not content.

He said feeder school superintendents want to make sure the students they are sending to MTHS are prepared.

“We’re talking better amongst ourselves in the feeder schools so we are all moving in the right direction,” Dansart said.

“We’re also talking with the high school. Communication is going both directions. We asked high school teachers if our kids were prepared.”

Dansart said recently the high school and feeder school boards got together for a joint board meeting. This was the first such meeting in 10 to 15 years, Dansart said.

“It helps,” he said.