Test results show RC students meeting, exceeding and falling short of growth targets

The Rush City School Board on Nov. 21 reviewed test results indicating students are meeting or exceeding academic growth targets, yet there is room for improvement.

Kindle Perkins, outcomes manager for the St. Croix River Education District, reviewed student proficiency marks from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, Measures of Academic Progress and General Outcome Measures. The following summaries were presented in her report.

Regarding the MCA results for 2013, students took the more rigorous MCA III reading test for the first time. While scores dropped throughout the state, Rush City reading scores dropped slightly more than the state average. In math, Rush City students were at or above state averages in three grades but below state averages in four grades.

In review of the MAP results for 2012-13, Rush City students met or exceeded national growth targets in reading in six grades and were below the same targets in two grades. Rush City students in grades two, three and nine met the more challenging district growth goal.

In math, Rush City students met or exceeded national growth targets in eight grades and were below national growth targets in one grade. Grades two, three, four, five, six and 10 met the more challenging district growth goal.

“We feel (MAP) is a better test,” Superintendent Vern Koepp said after the meeting. “Results come back very quickly, and it provides more meaningful information to teachers and parents for timely decisions, responses and any instructional changes.

“We want to be at or above state averages. And there’s always room for improvement, an attribute we want students and staff to bring to the environment,” Koepp added.

For the GOM results, oral reading fluency and math applications are given in fall, winter and spring and are used to predict student proficiency on the MCAs. In general, the GOM tests show students are making progress, but in some grades, student gains lag behind growth targets.

Summary of 2013 pool season

In review of the 2013 season at the Rush City Aquatic Center, Activities Director Bob Schlagel said about 14,700 people — including around 465 who participated in swimming lessons — used the pool.

While the pool was intended to be open for 84 days over the summer months, he continued, weather issues caused it to be closed on eight days and close early an additional nine days.

Schlagel said revenues were down slightly from the previous year due to decreased use of the pool, and expenditures were almost the same as the previous year but higher than anticipated. This resulted in a loss of $44,011.

The city of Rush City and Rush City Schools Community Service Fund will need to contribute to the aquatic center operation expenses for the summer of 2013, he noted.

Earlier in the meeting, Finance Director Maureen Frost reviewed the swimming pool trust fund, noting it had a fund balance of $514,712 in September. Meanwhile, interest earnings for the 2013 aquatic center season totaled $3,712 compared to $3,554 in 2012.

At the end of Schlagel’s review, the board accepted the 2013 aquatic center season summary and agreed to transfer $3,712 of interest earnings from the  Pool Trust Fund to the Community Service Fund.

In other action:

• The board approved a school calendar change, making Friday, Dec. 13, a staff development day and Friday, Feb. 14, a regular school day. The change will not alter the number of instruction days or staff development days.

• Board members approved a resolution issuing certificates of election to Matt Perreault, Teri Umbreit and Scott C. Anderson, who were elected to school board terms on Nov. 5. They will take the oath of office next month.

• The district received a “clean” opinion on its financial statements and management letters for fiscal year 2013 as presented by Melissa Lahr of Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich & Co. Afterward, the board accepted the independent auditor’s report on the financial statements of District 139 and the St. Croix River Education District.

• Frost said the district had $2.46 million invested as of Oct. 31. Investments produced an annual interest income of $7,348 during the 2012-13 school year compared to $3,621 for the previous year.

• Jacobson Elementary Principal Melody Tenhoff said Maureen Sybrant’s class brought in the most food items, totaling 317, during a student council-led food drive for the local food shelf.

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