Valley Board Approves Success Period

Presentations on several programs in the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. and IREAD-3 results were made to the school board Monday night.
Akron Elementary School Principal Chrissy Mills said the first round of IREAD-3 this year was in March, and they had results by spring break. However, the Indiana Department of Education just recently lifted the embargo on those results being presented to the public. Parents already were given their children’s results.
This is the fourth year for the state-mandated test. Based on the Indiana Academic Standards, the purpose of the IREAD-3 is to make sure all students can read sufficiently before fourth grade, Mills said.
Good Cause Exemptions are allowed for flexibility in determining access to grade four curriculum. These Good Cause Exemptions may be given to students who do not pass IREAD-3 and who fit one of the following criteria: Students who have previously been retained two times prior to promotion to grade four; students with disabilities whose case conference committee has determined that promotion is appropriate; and English Learners whose Individual Learning Plan committee has determined that promotion is appropriate.
Without exemptions, Mills said 45 of 53 students at Akron passed, or 85 percent; at Mentone, 61 of 71 passed, or 86 percent; and overall in the corporation, the pass rate was 85 percent.
With exemptions, 52 of 53 students (98 percent) passed at Akron; 64 of 71 (90 percent) passed at Mentone; and in the corporation overall, the pass rate is 94 percent, according to Mills.
Students who did not pass the IREAD-3 in the spring will retake it in the summer. Those students have to pass it on the second try to move on to the fourth grade, she said.
Angie Miller, Mentone principal, said some students who missed it on the first try were within a point of passing. 
Mills said teachers are feeling good about the success at Valley because this is the fourth year for the test, the test has not changed and teachers know what to expect.
“This is the only test that has not changed,” Miller said.
The corporation pass rate has been 94 percent for all four years of the test after the spring testing, including exemptions, Mills said. 
For students who did not pass in the spring, Mills said intervention has started.
“They’ve been in intervention all along, but now they’re in intense intervention that we do,” she said.
Tippecanoe Valley High School Principal Dr. Michael Bendicsen presented on the Viking Success Period. He said it’s not a mandatory study hall, but a 41-minute block of time each day so teachers can focus on students and their educational needs. 
Remediation will be given to those students who need it at that time, and students who don’t will work on projects or help other students.
He said his teachers wanted this and that it was really needed. 
Three minutes was taken off each class period to create the Success Period, and it will be in the middle of the day so it can reach all students. All students will be assigned a teacher for the period.
Other Valley schools have it and it’s been a success, he said.
The school board unanimously approved the period.
Assistant Superintendent Blaine Conley presented on Project Lead the Way at Tippecanoe Valley Middle School. The program will focus on science, technology, engineering and math for sixth- through eighth-graders and will start with the 2015-16 school year. 
“With orthopedics in the area, we feel this program will help students,” Conley said.
A $10,800 grant over three years will provide for participation fees, teacher training and equipment and supplies.
The school board approved the program.
Meagan Wilks, TVSC director of special services, presented on Little Vikings Preschool.
She said the preschool is the developmental preschool Valley runs. It’s for children with disabilities between 3 to 5 years old who are not kindergarten eligible. It is center-based and focuses on different skills and processes, she said. 
Little Vikings is at Mentone Elementary School, and its schedule follows the school corporation’s calendar. It follows the Indiana Foundation Standards, which were developed originally in 2002 but will change this year. 
It has partnerships with Head Start of Kosciusko County and First Steps, Wilks said. 
There are three types of referral processes, she said. Preschools tend to refer students to Little Vikings, parents can just call the preschool or First Steps may refer a family.
Wilks said if anyone wanted more information, they can contact her or Jeanna Lidecker. She said they are working on a special services page on the TVSC website. 
Miller presented on the TVSC Title I program, a federal program with money  aside for it based on poverty rates. 
Valley has received as low as $270,000 some years and as high as over $400,000, Miller said. Right now it’s in the middle of that, she said. Both Akron and Mentone Elementaries are Title I schools.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized the Mentone Elementary student council, office helpers, spelling bee winners, reading club, running club, Circle the State with Song participants, Spell Bowl, Math Team and Kindness Club.
Also recognized were the Mentone and Akron third-graders who scored a perfect 650 on the IREAD-3 this past spring.
From Akron, the students were Eli Love, Kaylyn Miller, Austin Hann and Chesnee Miller. The Mentone students were Devin Boggs, Emily Holstein and Kiera Smythe.
• Approved the minutes of the April 20 meetings, hiring of personnel, extracurricular assignments, resignations, retirements, out-of-state conference request, claims, payroll and financial report. 
• Approved the revisions to the student and staff handbooks for 2015-16 at all Tippecanoe Valley schools as presented at the April meeting.
• Approved the food service code of conduct as presented at the April meeting.
• Was reminded the TVHS Building Trades open house will be 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The open house features the home built for Cody and Amanda Hudson at 11475 E. CR 200N, Akron.
• Heard TVHS graduation will be June 7, with baccalaureate at 2 p.m. and commencement at 2:45 p.m.
• Heard a report from Warsaw Area Career Center Director Ronna Kawsky on Career and Technical Education.
• Heard the upcoming board meetings will be June 8, 6 p.m., administration office; June 29, 7 p.m., Capital Projects Fund workshop, administration office; 6 p.m., July 13, administration office; and 6 p.m., Aug. 10, administration office.

(Story By The Times Union)