istep-testPlymouth School Board members were given an opportunity at their April meeting to hear what steps administrators would be taking to increase scores on the ISTEP (Indiana State Testing for Educational Progress) testing. Presenting their school’s scores and plans were Riverside Intermediate School Principal, Jeni Hirschy, and Lincoln Junior High Principal, Reid Gault.

The scores were from the 2015 spring testing. Schools did not get the results until late October or early November.

Hirschy said that all of their results were above state averages. She acknowledged that the school had received additional staff in Title I and Special Education. She indicated that they would be looking at a revision of the Title I Improvement Plan. Other steps would include refining their math intense time, use professional development for teachers, adoption of a new math textbook, and use Added Think Through Math material. She said they use after school programs along with PLTW(Project Lead the Way)/Robotics and Club Invention to provide extras.

Riverside has approximately 530 students.

Lincoln Junior High has between 550-560 students. Gault compared the LJH scores with the state averages and acknowledged that all of the school’s scores were below the state’s. Gault said,” We have a lot of work to do.”

He told the Board that steps for improvement would be in the areas of improving Core Instruction and Response to Intervention. He said they will have a structured teacher collaboration time, hold professional development in areas of supporting all learners, use the Siemens Literacy Retreat for Monday professional development, have learning coaches for Mathematical Process Standards, and add more time in math class and Humanities for struggling students.

He went on to outline interventions. He said they need to identify students who struggle, provide instruction that meets individual needs, create specific interventions to target deficiencies, and monitor interventions and adjust them.

Superintendent Daniel Tyree said students took the spring test on the computer; however, they are opting to use a paper and pencil test for the next testing. Tyree said, “There were problems with kids getting kicked off the computer.”   He said the problems were not with the corporation’s technology, but with the testing company.

Carol Anders Correspondent