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Council Bluffs Schools outlines goals for school year
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Council Bluffs Schools outlines goals for school year

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Students wear face coverings as they arrive at Kirn Middle School on the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Last week, the school district released goals for the 2020-21 school year.

Council Bluffs Community School District officials outlined the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan for 2020-21 during a board of education meeting last week.

The plan sets goals for students’ academic achievement based on the superintendent’s goals, Building School Improvement Plans and Iowa Department of Education targets.

“The CSIP provides a road map for our focus on continuous academic achievement,” Superintendent Vickie Murillo said. “It is critical, especially with this pandemic, that we continue to monitor progress on student achievement goals.”

The school district evaluates academic achievement with the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment. All students in kindergarten through 11th grade take the MAP assessment every fall, winter and spring so the district can track improvement, although last spring’s closure because of the coronavirus pandemic prevented students from taking the spring test.

Individual schools will design strategies for achieving the goals, which align with the district’s 2017-2020 Academic Plan, Chief Academic Officer Corey Vorthmann said in a presentation to the board.

“Annually, each school develops a School Improvement Plan based on data analysis and district goals,” he said. “These plans are led by building principals in collaboration with teachers who serve on building leadership teams at each building.”

In general, the plan centers around three main goals for the school year:

1. By the year 2021, 80% of students in kindergarten through third grade will be at or above state benchmarks on the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment. On the fall 2019 screening, 67% of students in kindergarten through third grade were at the benchmark, Vorthmann said.

2. By the winter 2021, 80% of students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be at or above benchmark on the MAP Assessment. In winter 2020, 75% of students in those grades were at or above benchmark.

3. By 2021, 80% of students in kindergarten through 11th grade will be at or above the average, high average or high levels on the MAP assessments in reading and mathematics. On the winter 2020 MAP tests, 63% scored in the average, high average or high level in reading, and 55% of students scored in the average, high average or high level in mathematics. Those who score in the average range or higher are considered proficient, Vorthmann said.

In response to a question from a board member, Vorthmann said he did not know how much last spring’s extended closure would affect test scores this fall.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said.

The Comprehensive School Improvement Plan is part of the district’s process of continuous improvement, which focuses on “instructional improvement linked to student learning,” Vorthmann said. The plan must be submitted to the Iowa Department of Education.

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