ALLEN COUNTY - This week ISTEP+ scores were released, and nearly every district in Allen County showed vast improvements over last year's numbers. We wanted to know what changes were made to help achieve those gains.
In Fort Wayne Community Schools, scores improved in every subject area at every grade level (except 8th grade Language Arts). Their percentage growth topped Indiana's state average.
FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson says much of that can be attributed to more time during the summer for professional development.
It's also about giving teachers more time to exchange ideas, says Robinson. Wednesday delays were useful last year, and this year she says teachers will have time for that built into every day because of several changes to the schedule.
"Our instructional coaches were extremely helpful, because we didn't have to take teachers out of the classroom to help them on areas where they needed support," says Robinson. "Someone could come into the classroom and model for teachers."
Southwest Allen County Schools saw the highest scores in the area. More than 91% of students passed the Language Arts portion, and more than 91% passed the Math portion. Improvements were made at every grade level, in every subject tested.
"We have really just emphasized the basics, so the emphasis stays the same - quality education, quality learning opportunities, and high expectations," says SACS Superintendent Steve Yager.
Yager says soon the school board will also vote on a measure to keep that momentum going. If passed, every student in grades six through 12 would be given a laptop.
Both Yager and Robinson agree that motivated teachers, parents, administrators, and students are key to the success they saw on Spring 2011 ISTEP+ scores.
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