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School Improvement

October 09, 2013


The federal education legislation, No Child Left Behind, mandates that all students must be 100% proficient on reading and math academic standards by 2014.  Schools are expected to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) towards that goal.  The state reading goal for last year was to have 89% of all students in grades 3-6, 90% of all students in grades 7 and 8, and 89% of 11th graders proficient on the reading standards.  The state math goals were: 84% for grades 3-6, 83% for grades 7-8, and 80% for grade 11.  Additional information about how our school compared to other schools in the state will be available on the State of the Schools Report which will be available for public viewing on October 4, 2013.  (http://www.education.ne.gov/documents/SOSR.html)

If a school does not meet the state goal two years in a row, in the same grade level and same subject, they are identified as “In Need of Improvement.”  A school can get out of School Improvement Status after all subgroups meet the AYP goals for two consecutive years.

Niobrara Elementary is currently in year 1 of the Title I School Improvement Status because of not meeting  the state goals in math. Currently there are 60 schools in Year 1 such as we are, 49 schools in year 2; 41 schools in year 3; 2 schools in year 4 and 3 schools in year 5. The following table illustrates our students’ overall performance over the past two years.


Reading 2011-12

Reading 2012-13

Math 2011-12

Math 2012-13

Grades 3-6

72% Overall

60% Overall

44% Overall

47% Overall

Grades 7-8

80% Overall

65% Overall

64% Overall

43% Overall

Grade 11

55% Overall

57% Overall

44% Overall

57% Overall

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act requires each school identified for Title I School Improvement to offer Public School Choice to all students who attend the identified school.  Our students do not have another choice of schools within our district and as a result our students do not qualify for Public School Choice.

Because of the status, the school must develop and implement a two-year plan to help the students meet the goal.  Currently, we are seeking consultation and technical assistance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln research department and ESU #1 Staff Development.  With the input of teachers, parents and our consultants we will submit a plan to the State Department of Education.  The plan will include strategies to promote parent involvement as well as incorporated instructional strategies based on scientifically based research.  The District has implemented several changes intended to help raise student achievement.   These include the implementation of a more direct instruction of our reading program, interventions for students not meeting bench mark criteria on a quarterly basis and increased time and resources towards instruction. 

All student benefit greatly from parents being involved in many ways.  Asking questions, having students read aloud, and setting aside a time and place for homework are only a few of the things that you can do.  Your child’s teacher can give you additional strategies to work on at home.  Student achievement is a partnership between school and home and a strong partnership has been proven to be effective in helping student achievement.

Please call Mrs. Sandoz if you have any questions about the AYP status or the plan to improve the academic achievement of all subgroups at the school.

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