South Adams awarded an A by the state

Authored by Manda Arnold on Sep 14, 2011

South Adams superintendent Scott Litwiller gave a report at the school board meeting on Tuesday evening informing the board members of the scores given to South Adams by the state under Public Law 221. Public Law 221 is similar to the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system but is different in that Public Law 221 is the state’s system and AYP is the federal system. They are both based on ISTEP and ECA (End-of-Course Assessments) scores.
The system measures progress by assigning a letter grade based upon student performance. The grades/categories are A (Exemplary Progress), B (Commendable Progress), C (Academic Progress), D (Academic Watch), and F (Academic Probation). The Department of Education looks at three factors to make these determinations. The first is ISTEP/ECA performance. The second is improvement. The 2011 percentage of ISTEP/ECA passing scores are compared to the past two years to determine improvement. The third factor is AYP. Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years can place no higher than a C (Academic Progress).
As a school district, South Adams Schools was placed in the Exemplary Progress category, or was given an A grade, with an 84 percent passing performance and a three percent improvement score. This is the highest category that South Adams has earned as a district. Last year, South Adams received a C. The four years previous to 2010, South Adams was in the Academic Watch category (D).
For the first time, the high school was placed in the Exemplary Progress category. They had an 86 percent passing performance and a 2.2 percent improvement score.
The middle school was placed in the Exemplary Progress category for the fourth consecutive year. They had an 82.7 percent passing performance and a 1.9 percent improvement score.
The elementary school was placed in the Exemplary Progress category for the second consecutive year. They had an 84.7 percent passing performance and a 5.1 percent improvement score.
“The entire school community including staff, students, and parents, is to be commended for their efforts with earning these determinations. We are pleased and proud of this A rating, and we want to work hard to keep the exemplary progress,” stated Litwiller.
Litwiller also stated that he was really proud that the school had managed to cross the 80 percent threshold and said that they would now be working towards the goal of crossing the 90 percent threshold.
In student news, the board approved the two student representatives for the 2011-2012 school year. They are J.D. Tarr and Jody Potts. Tarr presented the board with the reworked student council program. The program is called the Starfire Council. In previous years, the student council for each grade was made up of two sponsors and 10 students, with four students acting as representatives. Under the new system, each grade will be made up of two sponsors, four representatives, and the members being the student body as a whole, not just the 10 people on the student council.
Tarr also informed the board of some of the activities the students are involved in. They have the Starfire Lounge every morning from 6:45 to 7:45, which serves breakfast. Homecoming is the week of September 30. Monday evening will be the powder puff game and the boys’ volleyball game, and Wednesday there will be a bonfire after church activities, around 8:15. Tarr also informed the board that the seniors are exploring the possibility of another Senior Service Day, probably around the same time as last year, which was mid-October.
The board also gave approval upon the recommendation of Litwiller to endorse the fund raising efforts of Ellerie Baer and Sidney Sprunger and that the donations be directed through the Music Boosters. Baer and Sprunger have been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall in February as part of the Indiana All-State Choir. Fundraising efforts will go towards traveling expenses.
Finally, in personnel news, the board unanimously accepted the resignations of Jen White as middle school track coach and Jessica Tarr as a Title 1 teaching assistant. They also approved the reassignment of Teri Walsh from part-time Waterford Lab teaching assistant to part-time Title 1 teaching assistant and the hiring of Emily Cook as a part-time Title 1 teaching assistant. These two part-time teaching assistants will replace the full-time position vacated by Jessica Tarr.
They also approved the hiring of the following teachers for the Migrant Program: Judy Rigby, teaching assistant for elementary; Emily Cook, part-time teaching assistant for elementary; Anissa Burson, part-time teaching assistant for elementary, Alison Lipina, teaching assistant for middle school, Ashley Lipina, teaching assistant for middle school, and Deanna McClure, teaching assistant for high school.
Lacy Hirschy was approved as a volunteer volleyball coach.

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