ESSA Accountability

**FULL DISCLOSURE:  IF YOU DON’T LIKE DATA, NUMBERS, AND CHARTS, THIS POST MAY NOT BE FOR YOU.  I, HOWEVER, AM IN HEAVEN.** (special shout-out to Charlene Cooper for her data help)

Accountability.  It sure has taken on some negative connotations in education the past few years that sometimes have been warranted.  It really isn’t a bad thing to be held accountable.  We do it all the time: we hold our students accountable for work, we hold our colleagues accountable for professionalism, we hold our spouses accountable, we hold our children accountable…the list could go on and on.  Every morning I hold Caseys accountable for having Diet Coke available for me.   When they don’t meet my expectation, it is a bad day.  🙂

Last week the federal government approved the state of Kansas’ ESSA Accountability Goals.  The goals are as follows:

  • Academic Proficiency – Seventy-five percent of assessed students should achieve an academic performance level score of three or higher on state assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics by the end of the school year 2030.
  • High School Graduation – Based on a four-year adjusted cohort, ninety-five percent of all students will graduate high school by the end of the school year 2030.
  • English Language Proficiency – By 2030, ninety-five percent of English Learners’ enrolled for at least one year will show progress toward proficiency on the Kansas English Language Proficiency (KELPA2) state assessment.

If you notice we have until 2030 to reach these goals and will have indicators to show our progression to those goals.

  • Academic Achievement Indicator – Percent of students achieving level three or higher in ELA and math on the Kansas State Assessments
  • Other Academic Indicator (grades 3 – 8) – Building and district subgroup gaps in ELA and math on the Kansas State Assessments will be calculated using the state mean Assessment Performance Index (API) score
  • Graduation Rate Indicator – Rate calculated on the four-year adjusted cohort
  • Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency Indicator – Individual student progress towards proficiency will be calculated by the student making positive growth in performance as compared to prior year’s performance on the KELPA2
  • Student Success Indicator – Decrease the percent of students scoring at level one in ELA or math on the Kansas State Assessments

So it brings up the question, “Where does Buhler stand right now compared to the goals?”  My quick assessment would be, “we have work to do with one, we are close on another, and we have no idea on one.”   So as Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet would say, “Just the facts, m’am.”

GOAL 1:  Below are the percentages of Buhler students scoring in level 3 or 4 on state assessments in ELA and math, respectively.  The goal is to get to 75%.  Why 75%?  To meet the work force needs by 2020, Kansas needs 75% of our students to either hold a certificate or have a degree. On our state assessments, a score of 3 or 4 indicates the student is college and career ready.  Our state education department has correlated the state test (grade 10) with ACT scores.  In coming years, they will be correlating other grades to the ACT.  Those correlations are below.  Of course, I have some questions regarding this goal.  If the English ACT score for college readiness is an 18 and that actually falls in category 2 on the ELA test, maybe we should be using the raw scores rather than categories, but that is for another post.

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GOAL 2:  Buhler’s 4 year cohort graduation rate is pretty good but will need some growth to get to 95%.  So why 95%?  As a part of achieving our state vision, (spend some time on that hotlink ) “Kansas will lead the world in the success of each student,” Kansas needs to have the highest graduation rate in the world.  From what I can find, Iowa currently has the highest in the nation (around 91%) and Portugal leads the world (around 95%).  In 2016, the state of Kansas had a graduation rate of 86.1%.  Below is a quick graphic of our graduation rates.  If you like data, I highly encourage you to check out the state link for any school Report Card.   Look up data for any school in the state (please ignore the freeze frame shot of me – worst. picture. ever.)

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Goal 3:  This one is pretty vague as the state assessment for our English Language Learners known this year as the KELPA2, has changed format and platforms for the last 4 years in a row.  This year we will have some data to look at growth the last two years.  What I can share is we currently have 40 students (1.8% of students) identified as ELL students.  The state choosing this subgroup to focus on is an interesting choice for me. Some districts will not have any identified students and some will have many.  Plus, it feels a little like a double-whammy as the students who struggle in learning the English language and showing progress will also probably struggle on the ELA state assessment.  I can’t share how if students made progress on the KELPA2 until next year but I can share how we did compared to the state group.  Seriously, check out the report card link above.  I could spend hours on it.

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Summary:  Our philosophy has not changed regarding the state assessment.  We expect teachers to align the curriculum with our state standards, focus on improving instructional strategies, provide opportunities for authentic learning and meet the child where they are.  I firmly believe if we continue to focus on those areas, our scores will improve.  I don’t want to chase a test score but also realize we do need to be making progress each year.  Getting our core curriculum set and all teachers implementing the curriculum with fidelity will be a huge step in making the scores move.  The math scores are showing that progress the last 3 years.  All buildings are making changes in MTSS, Individual Plans of Study, relationships, career awareness, authentic learning, redesigning the school day, etc that will have positive effects in many areas. Mostly, we want our staff, students, community to have “an exceptional educational experience.”






Why Wait?

So I have been thinking about starting a District Newsletter or District Update Blog for a couple years now.  It seems the logical thing to do is start at the beginning of the year but the beginning of the year is super busy and I simply forget.  Consequently, I am starting today…why wait for a date on a calendar?!

The purpose of this blog will be to share district happenings, things to be aware of, or just a place to share my thoughts.  Reflection is a great way to grow.  When I went through National Board Certification and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, reflection was one of the most beneficial aspects of the process. Hopefully, this blog will be an outlet to grow and also an informative process for those in our district.

What is first up to share? Culture.  It has been something that I am passionate about.  It is my belief that we …and I do mean WE…control our culture.  Our administration, teachers, students, aides, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, cooks, and everyone who walks through the doors of our buildings shape our culture.  It is not an individual that shapes culture which is why it is so hard to change.  And at the same time, it is so easy to change because we each have the power to do it.  As Jimmy Casas says in his book, Culturize, “No one person is responsible for determining your success or failure but you, and no one is responsible for your morale but you.”  To help shape our culture, our administration team developed our expectations.  We struggled for quite some time developing them and what to call them.  Norms?  Beliefs?  Values?  Non-negotiables? We decided upon Expectations.  They are:

  • Champions for All Kids
  • Committed to Excellence
  • Better Together
  • Directors of Hope

We have taken a culture survey for the past 3 years to give us feedback on the 3 rocks of Buhler:  Collaboration, Innovation, and Culture.   This is hard stuff.  Our administration team has to be very vulnerable, open to feedback, and reflective when reading the comments and results.  We must read them without being defensive, admit where we can get better, and come to terms with what we just aren’t willing to compromise on.  Not for the faint of heart.  When I taught, I had my students evaluate me twice a year.  It wasn’t any easier as a teacher but it made me better, made my students know they are valued, and we grew together.   And, this district survey will make us better.  We will be getting those results back to you all soon.  One suggestion was this blog.  It is something I have wanted to do for awhile and on this cold day, I decided why wait?  Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 8.40.30 PM