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December 18, 2000

District second-graders will no longer take the TerraNova standardized achievement test after School Board members voted to replace it with district reading and mathematics grade level benchmark assessments.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., presented the rationale for eliminating the standardized test.

“There is significant educational research which suggests that standardized tests are not a developmentally appropriate assessment tool for students in the primary grade,” Bauman wrote in her report.

The district’s Assessment Leadership Team developed the Academic Progress Profile, an individual record of student achievement that documents student performances on district benchmark assessments and standardized tests. Assessment Leadership Team members are working on the second strategy of the Strategic Plan that states, “We will implement assessment practices that will ensure continuous progress for each student.”

Currently the state requires the Third Grade Reading Test and the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams at grades 4, 8 and 10. The district also implements standardized achievement tests in grades 6 and 7. In the 2003-2004 school year, students will be required to take a state high school graduation test unless their parents opt them out of it.

District officials are studying the possibility of adding a fifth grade standardized achievement test.

Move to OmniTech gets positive review

The district’s move to OmniTech Corporation for its computer and network technical support in July has netted good results, according to a report from Marcy Elementary School Principal and District Technology Coordinator Donald Behrens, Ph.D.

After years of steadily improving technical support, the district is now contracting for the equivalent of two full-time technicians. OmniTech was the lowest qualified bidder.

Behrens noted in his written report that the change in service providers and increased staffing resulted in significant improvement including fewer computers out of operation, network problem resolutions, prompt addressing of software issues and shorter lists of concerns.

Village’s easement request goes to voters

The school district will ask voters at a Special Annual Meeting slated for Jan. 30, 2001 to approve the Village of Sussex’s request for an additional 17-foot drainage easement along Maple Avenue Elementary School’s property, contingent on criteria for the storm drainage system.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud asked village officials to bury storm culverts along the entire property line so that no water is allowed to stand on the school property. Specifically, Ruud requested to have the culvert buried along its entire path so that it drains directly into the creek west of the school without ponding anywhere on school property. He also asked the village to accommodate in its plan a curb cut to allow a future drive and walkway near a previous temporary construction access.

With the drainage design criteria met and approval from district voters, the easement will be granted, according to Ruud.

Slight enrollment increase projected

Enrollment for the 2001-2002 school year will increase by 12 students for an overall increase of .3 percent, according to Educational Services & Human Resources Director Dean Schultz. Staffing projects include nearly five full-time equivalency positions for:

  • addition of high school honors courses — .67;
  • Templeton class size concerns — 2; and
  • unanticipated enrollment increases — 2.

The cost for these positions will add $289,540 to the budget.

Board members heard several other staffing needs previously identified for band, assessment and technology, guidance, gifted and talented, health rooms aids and Marcy clerical aides. Schultz indicated that not all requests could be funded. The School Board will take action on recommendations in January.