The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

May 7, 2013

CAPE gives county school districts a ‘Gold Star’

Group recognizes improved third grade language arts ISTEP scores

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Madison County Community Alliance to Promote Education (CAPE) has awarded the county an “Educational Gold Star” for improvements in third grade language arts ISTEP scores over the last 12 years.

In 2001, only 45 percent of public school third graders in Madison County’s five school districts passed the language arts portion of the ISTEP. In 2012, 86 percent did.

“I think teachers have done an excellent job of focusing on student needs rather than just throwing out instruction,” CAPE Director Mary Lee Ewald said.

She said the dramatic improvement has been a collaborative effort among teachers, building administrators, districts, students, parents, businesses, community organizations and volunteers.

While educators stress the importance of early childhood education, Indiana has placed emphasis on third grade with both the Indiana Reading Evaluation And Determination (IREAD) exam and the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) that runs grades three through eight.

If students aren’t reading at their current grade level by grade three, Ewald said, studies show 74 percent never will.

While there’s room for improvement, she said the Educational Gold Star was introduced to celebrate and recognize the countywide achievement.

“Sometimes we don’t celebrate enough and we need to celebrate success,” she said.

When he began in Alexandria about 11 years ago, Intermediate Principal Chris Schnepp said they “started in the dumpster” with third grade test scores in the high 60 percentile range.

In 2012, the Intermediate School had a third grade language arts ISTEP pass rate of 94 percent.

“We got tired of being beat up a bit,” Schnepp said. “The last five years we’ve had a ‘no excuses’ approach.”

He said Alexandria has students who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, but that they and teachers work hard. The eight-step process also allows educators to be more focused on instruction, he said, so they can see who’s struggling and better assist them.

Under the eight-step process, students are taught in three-week cycles and given mini-assessments at the end of each to document strengths and weaknesses. Alexandria has used the eight-step process for four years now, Scnepp said, and both Anderson Community Schools and Elwood Community Schools use the program.

ACS Superintendent Felix Chow said the news is good for the county and for Anderson, but that there’s also the reality that ACS has lower test scores than some suburban and rural districts. ACS had a third grade language arts ISTEP pass rate of 79 percent in 2012.

A part of that, Chow said, is the culture of an urban school district where there is often less parental involvement and student effort.

But, he added, there is still work left to be done on the school district’s side, as well.

“Yes, we need to improve instruction, but we also need student motivation,” Chow said.

One way ACS plans to improve, he said, is by reaching students sooner. ACS will focus on younger pupils with the opening of the Southview Center, a centralized preschool location, in the fall.

The earlier kids start, the better, Ewald said.

Like Dani Palmer on Facebook and follow her @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.

Text Only
Local Education
  • Vaughan, Nancy Madison County grad rates and test scores improve, but still lag state High school graduation rates and standardized test scores in English, math and science all improved among public school students in Madison County from 2009 to 2013, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pay for South Madison soccer coaches under review An ad hoc parent group wants the South Madison Community Schools board to consider raising the stipend for Pendleton Heights High School soccer coaches.

    July 21, 2014

  • FEA - HB0721 - Rotary Exchange - JC 1 Foreign exchange program builds lasting friendships Paulina Berger returned to her hometown in Olpe, Germany on Friday, but she left something important behind: part of her heart. The 16-year-old spent a year living with three host families in Anderson as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • FEA HB0721 ISU Normal Hall Work underway to restore ISU's Normal Hall The sounds of heavy equipment, impact drills and even a large wrecking ball are evidence of a renovation underway at Normal Hall, Indiana State University's oldest academic building.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • HHS class of '66 seeks classmates The Highland High School Class of '66 will host its 48th class reunion on Aug. 23. Contact information is needed for several classmates.

    July 19, 2014

  • Jottings: July 20 The following are brief Jottings items of local interest.

    July 19, 2014

  • AHS Class of '65 plans informal gathering The Anderson High School Class of 1965 will hold an informal 49th class gathering. The gathering will be Saturday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Shouts Sports Pub (Cooper's Sport Bowl), 1920 E. 53rd St.

    July 18, 2014

  • NWS - HB0129 - snyder photo - SU Ivy Tech president attends apprenticeships summit

    Fresh from a White House-sponsored summit on expanding apprenticeship opportunities in high-growth industries, Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder said some programs in Indiana are on the leading edge of that effort.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACS teacher fights suspension in federal court An Anderson Community Schools second-grade teacher who was dismissed and placed on paid administrative leave early this year is fighting the school system's teacher evaluation program in federal court saying her constitutional rights of due process were violated because she was not allowed to attend meetings where her classroom performance was discussed and evaluated.

    July 14, 2014

  • NWS - HB0714 - back to school 2 Students receive the basics at Back to School Festival

    The threat of severe weather forced a normally popular back-to-school event indoors. The weather stayed away, but regardless, a few thousand children went home with school supplies they desperately need.

    July 13, 2014 3 Photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide