Mantua – At the last meeting of the Crestwood School Board, a brief discussion occurred at the start regarding the proposed 2015-2016 school year calendar. The proposal put forth recommends that the first day of instruction for students begin on August 19th, with the last day of instruction held on May 20th. Superintendent David Toth remarked that a change of this nature would be beneficial to students in that the first semester would end prior to Winter Break, giving students the opportunity to return to a new semester after their time away. In addition, he added that the new schedule would allow students more preparation time for spring tests, which are generally held during April and May.
Toth noted that the new state minimum number of hours or instruction at the middle and high school levels is 1,001 hours. According to Toth, the current CHS schedule has1,094 hours, while CMS has 1,135 hours. At the elementary level, the state minimum number is 910 of hours of instruction. Currently, CPS and CIS have 1,062 hours. Any calamity days, if needed, would be deducted from the total hours of instruction. Toth also noted that this school year, students will spend an average of 10.5 hours of testing. He stated, however, that the State is currently discussing the possibility of scaling that number in half in coming years. The decision on how to proceed on this matter will be discussed at future meetings.
Moving forward, much of the remaining portion of the meeting focused on how the district plans to make improvements in the areas of college and career readiness. High School Principal David McMahon and Middle School Principal Julie Schmidt shared their plans to implement Naviance – an online tool that will be implemented at both schools to allow guidance councilors, teachers, students and staff to collaborate on students plans after graduation from the Crestwood District. While the focus at the Middle School level will be on defining interests and abilities, the program will also incorporate good habits and practices for academic success in high school and beyond. To use the program, students and their parents will use the Family Connection portal, which will be available via smartphone or home computer. Teachers and staff will have access, as well, to monitor progress and help guide students through the process. At the High School level, students will be able to explore careers, and research what level of education is required to reach those careers. Further, the program will list the available courses, highlighting those that students need to take in order to follow the desired career or college path. In addition, students will have the ability to research training programs and colleges, planning visits, and submitting college applications electronically. Lastly, the portal will serve as a way to communicate scholarship opportunities, as well. The program will be implemented during the 2015-2016 school year.
Next, Primary Principal Cindy Ducca, Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick, and School Psychologist Tyler Best shared information with the board on AIMSweb, the achievement improvement monitoring system that is used at the elementary level to measure students foundational skills in math, reading and writing. The system, which is administered via computer and via pencil and paper, ranges from brief, one-minute quizzes to 3-8 minute evaluations given individually or in small groups. The information gleaned from these evaluations helps staff identify those students performing above, on, or below target in key foundational skills. After those benchmarks are completed, interventions can be implemented for students identified as below target. One of the benefits of implementing the AIMSweb system is the ability to streamline student assessments, since the program will meet the reporting requirements for three current assessments.
Lastly, Mrs. Kristina Bronder, Intervention Specialist from CPS, and Ms. Teri Beck, the School District’s Emis Coordinator, were both named employees of the month for December. Congratulations, ladies, for all your hard work!
The 2015 organizational meeting of the School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 6th at 6:30 pm, and will be immediately followed by the regularly scheduled January board meeting. As always, the community is encouraged to attend.