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April 22, 2014

Greater Clark improves on state reading exam

District is still under 90 percent goal

CLARK COUNTY — More third-graders are passing a state reading exam in Greater Clark County Schools, but they’re still just shy of their 90 percent target.

Kim Hartlage, executive director of elementary education, said there’s still a chance to increase its pass rate with a retake of the test this summer, but it wants to do better the first time around next year.

“We are steadily approaching that magic number,” Hartlage said. “This year we stand at 87.5 percent, which is an overall increase of 4.2 percent.”

She said of the 12 elementary schools in the district, only two didn’t show an increase in their scores. Northaven Elementary School and Spring Hill Elementary school both showed a drop: 1.4 percentage points and 8.7 percentage points, respectively.

Hartlage said Spring Hill’s drop, which fell from 96.7 percent passing to 88 percent, was in part because of its small student population. With fewer students taking the test, each student has a bigger impact on overall scores.

But four schools were flat or close to it — W.E. Wilson Elementary didn’t make a gain at all, staying at 87.7 percent passing. Thomas Jefferson, Utica and Bridgepoint elementaries each made less than a full percentage point gain from 2013 to 2014.

Maple Elementary and Riverside Elementary showed the biggest gains at 13.7 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.

Hartlage said although she’d like to see an improvement next year, she’s not disappointed with the schools this year.

“Overall, we’re very pleased at this point,” Hartlage said. “We have strong hope that we’ll have even greater increase after our June administration of the test.”

Students will have a chance to take the test again after summer school ends.

But summer school will see an expansion this year. Amy Schellenberg, executive director for educational services, said some extra funding will allow all students to catch up with their academics in just a little more than a week in June.

“We’ve gotten away from it for a while and thanks to Dr. [Tom] Dykiel [chief financial officer] he’s given us a little bit of funding to help us at least provide nine days, 36 hours of instruction through the summer,” Schellenberg said.

The session will run from 8 a.m. to noon from June 10 to June 20.

She said the district hopes to serve about 10 percent of the student population this year. Though students will have to find their own transportation, she said elementary and middle school students will attend their own schools and won’t have to get shipped across the county.

She said third-graders would get remediation to prepare them for the IREAD-3 summer test window while high-schoolers will take credit recovery courses and work on ways to improve their End of Course Assessment scores.

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