New London School District ranks high after Iowa Assessments
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON – The New London School District made major leaps in its academics this school year.
“When I gave this presentation at the end of the year,” began Curriculum Director Allison Lair, “the teachers were cheering loudly and even in tears. We made great strides this year and it’s truly something to be proud of.”
According to board member Dennis Carter, this is what people should be proud of.
“This is what gets me, when we are talking about sports, the room was full,” said Carter. “Now, it’s not. This is what we should be proud of. This is huge and this is what we should be acknowledging.”
New London School District after test scores were compiled this spring was eighth in the Great Prairie AEA area out of 34 schools for its academics.
“We are really proud about this,” said Superintendent Steve McAllister. “This year, our students showed growth in all areas tested on the Iowa Assessments. In fact, some of our results were the highest in the state of Iowa. Like most success, there is seldom just one thing a person can point to that leads to this success.
“This is certainly true for New London, however, we are confident that our 1:1 initiative, our professional learning communities (PLC) work with data teams, our move to standards-based grading, our intervention program and the work we’ve done with the Iowa Common Core are essential components of this success. In addition to the above, creating a learning environment where teachers and teacher leaders can take risks and do the good work they do is equally important,” said McAllister.
According to McAllister, throughout the presentation, a steady increase of scores can be seen and it’s reason to celebrate the good work that the teachers do.
“Our main mission is student achievement,” said McAllister. “It’s what we are here for and this presentation is really exciting.”
McAllister stated that the state is telling schools with proficiency rates of 80 percent or higher in reading, math and science at each grade level that the district has “core strength.” This means the core curriculum demonstrated strength based on high proficiency rates.
“During our presentation of New London’s data, our district demonstrated core strength or very close to core strength at all grade levels tested,” said McAllister. “We showed strength in all content areas tested, which was reported by the state of Iowa.”
There are still some schools that have not reported their spring data yet, which could change the proficiency ranking a bit, said McAllister.
“It is important to remember that scores (proficiency rates) for grades three through five are collapsed into one score as are grades six through eight for state reporting purposes,” explained McAllister. “For the high school, the state only reports 11th grade scores, even though we test grades nine and 10 as well.
“Our high school proficiency rates for 11th grade reading and math were the highest in the state of Iowa, but it is important to remember that our data shows consistent growth in proficiency rates at all levels and over a two to three year period, which coincides with many initiatives that were pointed out. The key is growth over a period of time, which we have demonstrated at all levels,” said McAllister.
The following data is some of what was reported to the state from the New London Community School District:
• Clark Elementary was ranked 12 out of 34 (80.24 percent and 79.47 percent) schools in 2011-12 and 2012-13, and then in 2013-14, Clark Elementary was ranked eighth out of 34 (84.46 percent) schools.
• Clark Elementary reading scores for 2013-14, Clark ranked 11 out of 34 schools (79.07 percent), which was about a 7 percent growth from last year.
• Clark math scores for this year ranked it second out of 34 schools (89.92 percent), which is about a 5 percent growth from last year.
• Clark science scores ranked it 11 out of 28 schools tested (84.38 percent), which is about a 4 percent growth from last year.
• For the New London Middle School, it was ranked 22 out of 33 schools tested in 2011-12 and 2012-13. For 2013-14 (67.72 percent and 67.75 percent), the middle school was ranked 14th out of 33 schools tested (77.84 percent). This showed about a 10 percent growth from last year.
• Middle school reading scores placed it 17th out of 32 schools tested (77.84 percent) this year, which is almost 22 percent growth from last year.
• Middle school math scores placed it ninth out of 30 schools tested (79.66 percent) this year, which is an almost 4 percent growth from last year.
• Middle school science scores place it 10th out of 30 schools tested (80.51 percent) this year, which is an almost 8 percent growth from last year.
• New London High School was ranked 20 out 29 schools tested (77.42 percent) in 2011-12. In 2012-13, it was ranked fourth out of 29 schools tested (87.5 percent) and in 2013-14, it was placed first out of 29 schools tested (92.5 percent).
• High school reading scores ranked it first out of 19 schools tested (92.5 percent) for 2013-14, which shows an almost 7 percent growth from last year. The high school was also ranked first in the state of Iowa for reading scores.
• High school math scores ranked it first out of 19 schools tested (97.5 percent) for this year, which is an about 15 percent growth from last year. The high school was almost first in the state of Iowa for math scores.
• High school science placed it first out 21 schools tested (87.8 percent) this year, which is a drop from last years score of first out of 16 schools tested (95 percent).
The school board also, during the meeting, approved the milk bid from Anderson-Erickson Dairy Company for the upcoming school year.
The New London School Board will meet again in regular session on Monday, July 21, at 7 p.m. in the North Campus board room.