ISTEP scores down overall at South Adams

Authored by Manda Arnold on Oct 18, 2013

The three South Adams principals were at the South Adams School Board meeting on Tuesday evening to present state assessment reports.
Overall, high school scores were down for 2013 according to high school principal Trent Lehman. English 10 had a passing rate of 69.3 percent, and Algebra 1 had a passing rate of 78.4 percent. This averages out to a passing rate of 73.8 percent. The percentage of students that passed both was 64.8 percent. These percentages are down from last year where 84.2 percent passed English 10, and 91.1 percent passed Algebra 1 with an average passing rate of 87.7 percent. Passing both in 2012 was a percentage of 80.2 percent.
Lehman stated that they were happy with the score trends previously but were greatly disappointed with last year’s scores. He stated that they were looking at the data and trying to plan their next move for getting the scores back up to where they should be. He also stated that one of the factors that may have played a role in the lower scores is that this grade had twice the normal amount of at-risk students.
Middle school principal Jeff Rich reported that the middle school showed good progress in some areas but fell short in other areas. The sixth grade had a passing percentage of 90 percent in math and 84 percent in English/Language Arts. This is up from 2012 where 84.4 percent passed math and 81.3 percent passed English/Language Arts. The seventh grade showed improvement in math with 90 percent passing compared to last year’s passing percentage of 87.2 percent. But the English/Language Arts percentage fell to 77 percent as compared to last year’s 82 percent. The eighth grade also saw positive growth in math with 95 percent passing compared to last year’s 91.2 percent, but their English/Language Arts percentage was also down at 85 percent as compared to last years 89 percent.
Elementary principal Shellie Miller presented the ISTEP results for 2013. Overall, the percentages were down. In English/Language Arts, third grade passed at 91 percent compared to 93 percent last year. The fourth grade had a passing percentage of 87 percent compared to last year’s 89 percent. The fifth grade had positive growth with 88 percent passing compared to last year’s 76 percent. In math, third grade passed 84 percent, fourth grade passed 86 percent, and fifth grade passed 99 percent compared to 85 percent, 86 percent, and 90 percent respectively. The overall percentage that passed both was 75 percent for grade three, 76 percent for grade four, and 75 percent for grade five compared to last year’s figures of 85 percent, 77 percent, and 82 percent, respectively. The figures for IREAD3 were also down as only 91 percent passed after last year’s 94 percent.
The board adopted the 2014 budget on Tuesday evening. Estimates for the various funds are general fund - $9,460,099; debt service fund - $1,870,000; capital projects fund - $1,990,176; transportation fund - $1,500,000; and rainy day fund - $400,000. This puts the total budget estimate for the 2014 school year at $15,220,275. The tax levy is estimated at $5,444,671 with a tax rate estimate at 1.722.
Superintendent Scott Litwiller updated the board on the former elementary school property. The school has entered into a listing agreement with BND Commercial Real Estate Solutions in Fort Wayne. It will be a 12-month contract, which started October 1. The school also has the option of extending the contract should they enter into an agreement and need extra time for due diligence to be completed. The property is listed at $653,000, which is the average figure of the two appraisals done on the property. The broker’s commission for BND Commercial Real Estate Solutions will be six percent. In the case of earnest money, the broker will be entitled to up to half of the money but not more than the six percent commission.
In personnel news, the board approved the winter coaches on the recommendation of athletic director Jason Arnold. Those approved are wrestling – head coach Barry Humble, varsity assistant Jim Marbach, varsity assistant Robert Loshe, varsity volunteer Josh Kimberlin, middle school head coach Ben Wanner, and middle school assistant coach Isaac Werst; boys basketball – head coach Andy Brown, varsity assistant Larry Patterson, junior varsity coach Josh Hendrixson, eighth grade coach Corey LeMaster, and seventh grade coach Don Foust; girls basketball – head coach Brett Freeman, junior varsity coach Morgan Mitchell, eighth grade coach Steve Dellinger, seventh grade co-coaches Chad Grabau and Kim LeFever, and middle school volunteer Gregg Nussbaum; swimming – head coach Janelle Gresla, varsity assistant Andy Lehman, middle school coach Tami Sprunger, middle school volunteer Jeff Sprunger, and middle school volunteer Marie Nussbaum.
Finally, the board approved the request for a separate Dots In Blue Water website. The new site – www.dotsinbluewater.com - will be managed by students, with Michael Baer and Myron Schwartz having administrative control over the content. The upfront cost will be $92.79 with ongoing costs at approximately $0 per year.

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