Monroe County Schools are showing significant improvement under a new set of standards meant to gauge school performance. The district is still planning a number of changes to make sure it is meeting the needs of students.
The Indiana Department of Education released a new grading system this year to measure school performance. Last year, the Monroe County School Corporation received a grade comparable to a ‘D.’ This year the district received an overall grade, of ‘B.’
Superintendent Judy Demuth says while that is commendable, there is still work to be done.
“By using formative assessments which are given in short increments, our teachers can re-look at what they’re teaching with each student and reevaluate the needs of that student,” DeMuth said.
She says the primarily goal should be improving the students’ education, not solely a standardized test score.
“ISTEP testing shouldn’t become a big target at the end of the semester,” she said. “Rather let’s keep looking at their instruction to make sure we’re targeting the needs of our students.”
New Tech High School Doesn’t Make the Grade
The only Monroe county school to receive an ‘F’ was New Tech High School, a school that focuses on 21st century skills. That failing grade means the school will be placed on academic probation. Principal Alan Veach says the grade is unacceptable. He attributes it, in part, to poor algebra scores.
“We have switched from project-based learning to problem-based learning and while that’s just one word, that’s a big deal for us,” he said. “In project based learning we have four-week projects that are really drawn out. We really lost a lot of the connection to the math skills.
Veach says the new problem-based learning problems are more focused on basic math skills while still having a real world connection.
Veach is also working with teachers to incorporate literacy skills into problem-based learning. Even though the school scored adequately in that area, Veach says he will continue to push his faculty and students in hopes that New Tech will ultimately becomes an ‘A’ school.