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Principals pitch South Whidbey school improvement plans

The future was the focus of a series of presentations during the South Whidbey School District Board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Principals from South Whidbey’s elementary, middle and high schools, along with the director of South Whidbey Academy and Superintendent Jo Moccia, outlined their goals and how they plan on moving forward this upcoming year.

“We’re in a good place,” Moccia said. “There’s a lot of positive things happening in each of the buildings.”

The plans are aimed to focus the vision of the district to ensure the progress of each student. Each school planned to improve testing scores on reading, writing, math and science with the elementary school focusing primarily on reading.

For the district, Moccia reiterated two main goals for all students to be career and college ready by 2020, and to completely implement a uniform evaluation system for staff members.

High school Principal John Patton said this year’s goals mirror those of the 2012-13 school year. He would like to see improved test scores in reading, writing and math. According to Patton, this year’s sophomore class has slightly lower overall test scores than the previous sophomore class.

But Patton also said several existing programs continue to improve, such as double blocking classes, where students can get extra help. He said programs to promote belonging, help teachers work with technology, and grouping students at different years together to work in small group study sessions are all existing programs he would like to see improve through the year.

At the middle school, Principal Eric Nerison outlined goals which focused on “building the future through healthy heads, hearts and hands” for students.

Nerison also highlighted goals of improved parent and student perception of the school and a decrease in bullying.

“We want students to report that they enjoy school,” Nerison said, “and that’s a tough job.”

Elementary school Principal Jeff Cravy said his goals focus on aligning reading comprehension for each grade level. The school has put in place two programs to aid reading comprehension, for the lower kindergarten to second grade, the program focuses on reading for comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expanded vocabulary. For grades 3-5, students will learn to collect, interpret and apply the reading material. Each teacher has developed these programs with their own teaching style, he said.

At the academy, Director David Pfeiffer said along with improving test scores, one of his goals is to help students stay engaged in school. Music, arts, design and technology programs are effective ways of doing that and go a long way toward helping students graduate, which is ultimately what the school wants, he said.

School board members like what they heard.

“I’m impressed with the quality of presentations we’ve seen this year,” said Director Linda Racicot. “I think the variety that everyone has come up with is tremendous. We have a lot of exciting programs happening.”

 

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