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Transience, small population skew ISTEP results; Parent Night set for Tuesday
CANNELTON - Test results from the Indiana Statewide Test for Educational Progress and Graduation Qualifying Exam will be given out at an ISTEP-GQE Parent Night Tuesday in the Cannelton High School cafeteria, according to the city school system's principal.
Reporting to school-board members at a regular meeting Wednesday, Ginger Conrad told the board analysis of ISTEP results showed a significant difference between students who have been in the Cannelton school system for some time and those who haven't.
Cannelton's small student population means poor or excellent test performance by one or two students can significantly skew overall test results.
Also, a high rate of students moving into and out of the system can mean the test results of youngsters who've spent recent years in different school systems are reflected in Cannelton's results. Those who learned under Cannelton teachers are lost, to have their knowledge reflected in the results of schools elsewhere.
After putting a preschool in place and focusing on early literacy piece, Conrad said, students who've been in the corporation achieved 92-percent passing rates in fourth grade in English and math, she reported, and 88- and 100-percent passing rates in third-grade language arts and math, respectively. "So we really feel like what we're doing with early literacy is making a big difference," she told the board.
Of the 17 fourth-graders tested in September, 71 percent passed each of the tests. Fourteen third-graders were tested, and 86 percent passed in each individual area, with 71 percent succeeding in both.
The school's ninth-graders posted a 24-percent pass-plus rate in math, "which was very good," she noted. "There's always room for improvement, but we're working up."
Conrad said financial-aid and 21st Century Scholar workshops will also be conducted, the latter intended to provide information to eighth- and ninth-graders and their parents.
A basketball clinic for kindergarten through second-grade students was to have begun Saturday, she said, and continue for six weeks. Coaches Chris Melton and Brian Garrett and members of the varsity team will provide instruction. Garrett hopes the youngsters will demonstrate their new skills during halftime breaks in varsity games, Conrad added.
Twenty-one students are participating in a Promoting Achievement by Choosing Kindness at School Program, she also said. She urged school-board members to witness the program, which has high-school sophomores, juniors and seniors providing afternoon academic-mentoring sessions at Myers Grade School. It provides the older students "an opportunity to lead someone younger than they are," Conrad said. "To see the difference in how they view themselves over time is just tremendous. I thank all the teachers for their support, because they have to help in having those lessons designed for the kids in that program."
Homecoming festivities are scheduled for Feb. 2 and the junior-senior prom for April 19, Conrad said.
A microcomputers class has been added to the welding instruction already offered through Ivy tech, she continued. Both offer high-school and college credits to their participants.
"We have a PTO goal that we started last fall," Conrad reminded the board. "Donations are being accepted for the resurfacing of the Myers Grade School playground. A budget has been set aside, and we need an estimated $12,000 for this resurfacing." Donations can be sent to the corporation treasurer, Margie Weatherholt, at Cannelton PTO; 615 Taylor St., Cannelton IN 47520.
In providing his regular financial report to the board, Schools Superintendent Al Chapman noted auditors were performing reviews of the corporation's books, and he expected them to finish fairly soon. He also noted he'd received some local tax money and expected to receive more shortly. "Typically we get it in December, but it is running a little late," he told the board. A required annual reorganization resulted in the 2007 officers on the corporation's board of finance retaining their positions for 2008.
Cheryl Musgrave, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, approved the sale of bonds intended to settle a judgment against the corporation, Chapman reported. The board adopted in October a judgment-bond resolution to start a process toward repaying a $544,000 temporary loan to Fifth Third Bank. Chapman explained then the money was borrowed to pay off a loan to the Indiana Bond Bank. He suggested in late 2004 the school corporation secure temporary funding from the local bank where it conducts its routine business, rather than the New York bank backing the bond bank.
Chapman said he anticipated the bonds' sale would occur some time this month.
He also provided information about forums offered by the Indiana School Boards Association intended to prepare potential school-board candidates "to be informed, effective public school-board members."
The ISBA forum most convenient to Perry County residents will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Jasper High School library Feb. 4. More information can be found in a community brief on this page.
Ed Bozarth's and Bill Garrett's board terms expire this year, and voters will decide in a May primary who'll serve. Prospective members must register their candidacies with the county clerk between Wednesday and Noon, Feb. 22.