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home : latest news : latest news August 20, 2014

8/17/2013 3:33:00 PM
After AIMS, schools seek plans to improve

Raquel Hendrickson
Bugle Managing Editor

It's one thing to know test scores. It's another thing entirely to know what to do with them.

Both Camp Verde Unified School District and Beaver Creek School District see work ahead of them after sifting through results of the AIMS exams from last fall. Both districts received the same overall letter grade as they did last year - a B and a C respectively - though the reasons for it may have shifted.

CVUSD Superintendent Amber Lee said there are separate needs at each site of the Camp Verde schools.

Last year, student-growth numbers at South Verde High School helped push the district's score. This year it was the middle school hitting a solid B where it had been struggling before.

"When I found out we got a B, I was elated," CVMS Principal Danny Howe said. "We've been working on a culture of consistency."

He said staff is establishing a relationship of "faith, hope and love" between teachers and students. Sixth grade math teacher Eric Hansen was credited with his ability to analyze and interpret test data to help turn around results. Howe also cited programs like Galileo for improved scores, as well as daily math drills.

Camp Verde High School came closest to reaching an A, scoring 133 points for a high B. An A requires 140 points. That is pushing them more to reach a little higher. "I look for our staff to be an A," CVHS Principal Bob Weir said.

He said changes and moves within the faculty could be just the conduit.

"With the quality of teachers we have, we should be an A school," Board President Helen Freeman said.

The state no longer qualifies South Verde as a "small school" and changed the way its tests were formulated. That resulted in a low C.

"We've never had so many kids pas the test. We've never had as high a graduation rate. And our score dropped," Principal Steve King said.

The definition of full academic year (FAY) played into the formula, though test results were up.

It was the same kind of frustration at the elementary school, which scored a middle-of-the-road C.

"We were disappointed because we worked so hard," CVES Principal Debi Pottorff said. "We weren't making excuses; we looked for reasons."

Those possible reasons included an addition of 35 students and the fact that the math test was taken in the afternoon instead of the morning. Plus a fire alarm went off several times during testing. A math score of 70 the year before dropped to a 58.

Now the school is adding a day of math tutoring after school, Pottorff said.

BCS was stuck on a C as well, though the district did meet its "annual measurable objectives."

"We feel like we don't have enough staffing, but we have no more resources to give," BCS Superintendent Karin Ward said.

She pointed out that the small K-8 school has a special-education population of about 20 percent when "high is considered 13 percent." BCS has four SpEd teachers and a reading specialist.

BCS board member Jo Burke has requested a "plan of action to move from a C to a B." As a district, BCS scored 112 points, while a B requires 120 points.

Taylor Waste

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