School Board Hears About Success Period

Monday’s regular meeting of the Warsaw School Board was full of brief presentations, approvals and recognitions.
Edgewood Middle School Principal JoElla Smyth and Assistant Principal Tracy Horrell presented on their school’s Success Period.
Horrell said the Success Period, now in its third incarnation, is going without a hitch. A goal of the period is to assess how well students are learning state standards, he said. 
“We have went through this year and looked at the power standards with the guidance of the administration and central office and teachers. What are those standards we want the kids to know? It’s that guaranteed curriculum that we know every kid, when they walk out of the building, will know and know well,” Horrell said.
Students and staff work together to provide intervention and acceleration to increase student growth and learning, he said. “These are the two main goals of Success Period,” he said.
Horrell said they had Success time built into the school day but “didn’t know it.” It was called School Resource Time, but wasn’t guided or focused by teachers – it was at students’ discretion as to what they wanted to do.
That time was moved to after fourth hour so all students could take part in Success Period at the same time.
A reason for the change was because in 2014 Edgewood had low overall growth on ISTEP. The state had certain percentages on standards it wanted the school to meet – 42.4 percent in math and 39.8 percent in English and language arts, but Edgewood got 44.5 percent and 37.7 percent respectively. Its assessment from the state dropped a letter grade.
Horrell said more improvement by 10 to 12 students would have made a difference.
“Success (Period) targets all students at grade level on those power standards in which we have identified through the school year. It affects the district rate, it affects the school grade, it affects the teachers’ RISE rubric because they’re collaborating with others. It impacts all the other categories,” Horrell said.
In the Success format, there are five teams of three teachers per grade level who work with the students on state standards. The teams rotate through the five groups of 50 to 60 students over a period of five weeks.
Students take a pre-test of the power standards and then are given four days of instruction, followed by a post test, in a regular week.
Based on the pre-test scores, students are divided into high, medium and low ability. “And they are actually teaching different lessons to different kids that are … more engaging,” he said.
Edgewood is on its 10th week of Success and Horrell said there’s been 26 percent growth for seventh grade and 37.5 percent growth for eighth grade on the tests.
After the presentation on the Success Period, students Miriam Hagg and Lora Kuhaneck discussed Edgewood’s food drive held earlier this school year. 
The school board also:
• Recognized Washington STEM Academy fourth-grader Lori Davila for saving her grandmother’s life after learning CPR at school from Multi-Township EMS.
• Recognized Randy Martz’s donation of a handmade broom to the Hoosier Heritage School at Harrison Elementary.
• Recognized Kuhaneck for winning the regional spelling bee March 7 in Fort Wayne. She advances to the national spelling bee in May in Washington, D.C.
• Approved the March 2015 personnel and financial reports as discussed during the March 10 public work session. 
• Approved the Adult Education annual grant of $373,464. Gateway Educational Center Principal Steve Ferber said it’s down 4 to 5 percent from last year. 
• Approved the submission of a grant to the United Way of Kosciusko County for WCS’s Early Learning Centers at Leesburg and Claypool elementaries.
• Accepted a donation from Teachers Credit Union for $2,500 for professional learning; from Kohl’s Department Store, two $500 checks for the band department at Edgewood; an undisclosed donation from Explorer Van and Lakeside Chevrolet for T-shirts for a Edgewood fundraiser to benefit Riley Hospital for Children; and $1,500 from The Frank Levinson Family Foundation Fund, through the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, for expenses related to NASA astronaut Col. (Ret.) Kevin Ford’s visit March 26.
• Heard a report from administrators about the Title I annual conference, which took place in Utah in February.
• Approved Chief Academic Officer David Robertson’s request to move forward with the world languages textbook adoption as presented at the March 10 public work session.
• Approved Chief Accountability Officer Dani Barkey’s request for the calendar committee to move forward with the 2016-17 calendar as a draft as presented March 10.
• Heard from Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert that as of March 1, student enrollment at WCS is 7,175.
• Heard that the public work session in April will be at 4 p.m. April 21, and the regular monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 27.

(Story By The Times Union)