Escanaba schools: Annual report is public today

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Area Public School District’s annual report and school improvement plan – which shows what the school is doing to help students learn – is available to the public starting today.

The Escanaba School Board unanimously voted to approve the district school improvement plan for the coming school year at Monday’s school board meeting. The plan, a compilation of all the individual school plans, is a portion of what is highlighted on the district’s annual report, which is officially released to the public today.

According to Escanaba Superintendent Michele Lemire, the annual report shows how the district did the previous school year and answers the questions of “how” and “what” the district is doing to help students learn.

The annual reports include data from state and national assessments, but also include information on teacher quality, how the district utilizes programs such as Bay MIddle College, the Delta-Schoolcraft ISD Tech Center, and other programs to meet student needs. It also addresses the district’s implementation of Common Core standards, information from parent/teacher conferences, postsecondary/college accredited courses, dual enrollment, and how the district assigns students to each school.

In the past, the district has been graded on whether or not they make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on the report, though now this system has changed to measure progress through School Accountability Scorecards.

In doing so, school districts throughout the state are assessed based on a color code system ranging from green – the best score – to red, the worst.

Instead of making AYP, the district is now going to meet what is known as Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

“It’s based on school-wide proficiency percentages by subject starting from 2011-2012 – that’s the baseline year,” explained Lemire.

The district takes student proficiency information from this year in the core subjects of English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Ultimately, the goal is for schools to reach an 85 percent proficiency rate in all assessed content areas.

“The targets are unique by subject and by school, because all schools and all school districts perform differently depending on where they were academically,” she said. “Thus our target may be different from Gladstone’s. Eventually every school is supposed to be up to 85 percent, but we all have different targets.”

Additional targets the district will aim for are a 95 percent participation rate, 90 percent attendance rate, and 80 percent graduation rate.

The AMOs also address student subgroups based on: ethnicity, the bottom 30 percent of students, those with a limited English proficiency, students with disabilities, and the economically disadvantaged.

Proficiency will be monitored all the way to the 2021-22 school year.

Lemire also spoke on the board-adopted district school improvement plan, which she said highlights goals and objectives in all content areas, and is included within the annual report.

“Every school has a school improvement team that consists of their principal, staff members, parents, and they work together as a team to actually study the data,” said Lemire. “They look at a variety of factors to assess where students are accelerating and where students might need more intervention.”

The improvement plan also focuses on goals in the four core areas.

“The reason that we put this school improvement plan together is not only to keep us constantly thinking about how we can continuously improve, but also this is what the state uses in order for us to be able to access federal Title I, Title II and 31a funds,” said Lemire.

These funds are used to provide extra support to students through such things as before- and after-school programs and intervention programs.

“Every year we will see what’s working and if things are working well, we may expand that idea. We may continue to work on certain areas, but then we might choose to abandon something that really wasn’t working so well,” she said.

According to Lemire, the district was not allowed to release the information in the annual report at the time of Monday’s meeting as the public release date is today.

Those interested in viewing the data can visit Hard copies of the report are available in the school offices.

In other business, the board:

-approved laying off one Title I assistant due to reduced state and federal funding, effective immediately.

-approved a one-year unpaid leave of absence for an Escanaba Education Association member due to personal and family reasons. By doing so, the board authorized the superintendent to fill the vacancy by recalling a certified and qualified teacher currently on layoff status.

-adopted a number of NEOLA policies in several areas.

-adopted the Schools of Choice resolutions for the 2013-14 school year, with limitless openings.

-adopted elementary parent/student and senior high school parent/student handbooks for the coming school year.

-awarded the following food and drink vendors hot lunch bids for the 2013-14 school year: milk products from Jilbert Dairy, pizza and breadsticks from Domino’s Pizza, and bakery products from Bimbo Bakeries USA.

-approved the 2013 tax rate requests of 18 mills for operations, 2.81 mills for the 2001 debt, and 1.94 mills for the 2010 debt.

-approved hiring the following personnel: Andrea Hudson as a speech-language teacher; Craig LeClaire as an assistant high school cross country coach; Alex DeHann as an assistant freshman football coach; and Cory Marmalick and Jake Koish as junior high assistant football coaches.