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QUICK NOTE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

Greetings Patrons of the Edmore School District

Greetings Parents/Guardians:

 

                The students and staff have just returned from a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. As I visited with students this week I was pleased to hear that most of them still celebrated Thanksgiving in a traditional manner in which they get together with extended family and enjoyed a meal in which they probably consumed more food than they needed.  Students and staff now have four full weeks of instruction before the Christmas holiday. During this time students will be busy with academic studies but will also enjoy winter extra-curricular events and also decorating their classrooms in their spare time in preparation for Christmas.

 

Student-Led Conferences

                The students attending Edmore School continue to utilize student-led conferences. This process involves students sitting down with their parent and teacher and discussing the progress that has been made during the first nine-week period. These conferences are a great opportunity for each student to exhibit communication and presentation skills in addition to reflect on the learning process and acknowledge areas of strength and areas of improvement for the remainder of the academic year.

                The vast majority of parents attended conferences and appeared to be proud of their child’s accomplishments. During conferences we asked parents to complete a survey and share their perception of how the school is preparing their child for the post-secondary world. The vast majority of respondents were positive and parents stated that they enjoy the family-like culture the Edmore staff provide for their children.

                One concern listed by a parent related to the testing practices we have in our school. One of my favorite adages states, “You don’t fatten a cow by weighing it”.  Although this is true a rancher employing 21st century herd management probably utilizes practices involving everything from feeding supplements to pasture rotation. The rancher constantly monitors the herd and makes adjustments to ensure the cows are getting fat.

                At Edmore Public School we assess students utilizing primarily two forms of assessments: Normed assessments (assessments that compare our students with students nationwide) and growth-focused assessments (measure growth of students relating to State standards).

Normed assessments include the North Dakota State Assessment (NDSA) and American College Testing (ACT). The NDSA is given to 4th through 8th grade and 11th grade and is required by our state legislators (Century Code). This exam assesses students in Math, Language Arts, and Science. We utilize the exam to help determine student mastery of the State standards and also how our students compare to other students in North Dakota.  The ACT exam is required for students choosing to attend college. This exam is given to juniors and seniors who elect to take the exam.

Growth-focused exams include the Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR 360) and Dynamic Indicators Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) for elementary students . The STAR 360 also assesses for Mathematics and only takes minutes to complete and is given monthly to monitor growth of students regarding mastered skills. Staff examine assessment results and adjust curriculum/instruction to meet the individual needs of students.

                Parents and patrons may be asking why are we focusing on standards, why not just teach the Three R’s? It worked for me… To make a long story short when our generation went to school our teacher more than likely taught from a textbook and started on chapter 1 and continued until the end of the school year. The textbook companies tailored the content of the book for three states: New York, Texas, and California. That is because the largest percent of the textbook market was from these states. 

As a nation our labor market has transitioned to more jobs requiring high skill/high wages. As a result of this transition employers have stressed the need for public education to respond by increasing the mastery of skills for students to meet the higher level skills required by employers.  Public education did respond and moved away from simply covering chapters in a book to mastery of State standards.  Standards set forth by North Dakota K12 educators. 

                The Edmore staff utilize the results of the fore-mentioned exams to adjust curriculum and instruction to better meet the needs of students in achieving the State standards.  We realize that time spent assessing students takes away from instruction. We continue to focus on ensuring that academic instruction is a priority but realize that other activities are part of educating the “Whole Child”.  This is a balancing act but the school board, administration, and staff continue to reflect and adjust curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of our students.

                On behalf of the Edmore school board, staff, and students, we would like to thank the Edmore patrons for their continued support of educating our children.

 

 

Professionally,

 

 

Frank Schill, Superintendent

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