Newspaper Archive of
N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
July 31, 2014     N. Warren Town and County News
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July 31, 2014

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Thursday, July 31, 2014 N/Warren Town and County News Page Nine SUPERINTENDENT WULF Concluded from p. 1 ago, Federal "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) legislation mandated that 100% of American children be academi- cally proficient on standardized test scores by 2014. American schools are not at that poinf. Despite Norwalk's great progress, we are not at 1007/o proficiency for all kids. But we need to be.As a result, Iowa Districts (including Norwalk ) will be labeled "Districts in Need of Assistance" (D!NA) in the 2014-15 school year. You will hear conversation more about that "DINA designation" and how Iowa will work to improve their test scores. The following table represents the average student percent proficiency across the entire Norwalk district over the last ten years: Reading Math Science Soc.Studi es % of All Norwalk Students Proficient over 10 Years. 2005 2006" 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 %Changein 10 yrs 76.7 75.0 75.9 76.5 80:5 81.2 82.8 81.6 83.3 87.1 +10.4%. 81.1 81.3 80.6 82.5 82.2 84.5 85.2 88.5 88.8 90.3 +9.2% 81.2 82.3 79.2 80.3 80.9 86.3 86.2 83 85.3 87 +5.8 75.4 77.6 77.9 79.1 77.1 82.7 81.3 82.1 83.3 84.1 +8.7% As you can see from the chart, the results are promising. But, even MORE changes will be necessary for us to achieve 100% proficiency. Despite our progress with the last Reading Curriculum adoption; we have not yet met NCLB's 100%. Changes are being made to raise the bar in Language Arts with a new textbook and program materials adoption. We will be implementing these changes this year. These materials are more challenging, so . . . #. .... expect the work to be more difficult. These matenals are also more tightly ahgned to the upcoming national standardized tests (Sm0rter Balanced Testing) which will be released over the next few years. It always helps when the curriculum is aligned to the test. To assist in the monitoring and implementation of this curriculum, the previously mentioned Iowa Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant will provide assistance. Professional teacher time will be purchased through the grant to implement the Iowa Professional Development legislation in Norwalk. That system will better orga- nize and implement the Language Arts implementation and assessments in Norwalk and across Iowa. Once the Language Arts programming is implemented, we will be working to create similar systems for math and other curriculum areas. Additionally, students in grades 8-12 will be participating in a 1 to 1 computer initiative in 2014-15. There is a rollout process planned for the beginning of the year. Eastview and High School will be in communication with their parents about this process. Computers are not a "magic bullet" for academic achievement. Norwalk is one of the late innovators with 1:1 computers. We waited for a pattern t O emerge in the research. The pattern is becom- ing dear. Just handing out computers does not make kids "smarter". However, research is clear that computers make students more "engaged" in curriculum. Electronic media is their "preferred method" to communicate and learn. Curriculum is still the key factor. If computers cause the students to be more engaged in a weak curriculum, the scores Will not change. However, if students are more engaged in a very challenging curriculum, scores tend to improve. Matching computers with a more rigorous Reading and Language Arts curriculum should enhance each initiative. We will monitor our progress in grades 8-12 to determine whether the" initiative should spread to other grade levels. Having teacher leaders assist in these efforts should further enhance achievement. Sometimes, 100% achievement seems a long distance away. But, we cut that distance in half over the last ten years. We are almost there. Expect the curriculum to be increasingly challenging and the push toward excellence will be more obvious and more sustained than ever before. Our kids deserve a world class education. That achieve- ment will require a world class "push". Now is not the time to rest on our laurels! Keep pushing! 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