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Fontana scores well on district evaluation



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September 24, 2013 | 03:17 PM




FONTANA — Fontana Elementary School students are bucking the state trend in student achievement.

According to district report cards released from the state Department of Public Instruction, Fontana increased its overall score by 10 points.

The overall score factors in student achievement, growth, closing gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged groups and post-secondary readiness scores.

The state average for K-8 school districts decreased in three of these four areas.

District Administrator Sara Norton said the scores are a point-in-time measure.

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“This report card is based on (state test) scores,” she said. “The state includes other areas of measurement to get the scores.”

The 9.9 point increase in scores at the school is opposite the area’s trend as well.

Walworth Elementary School’s score dropped nearly two points, and Big Foot High School’s score dropped three points. Sharon Elementary School dropped four points, and Reek Elementary School dropped three points.

Fontana, Walworth, Sharon and Reek elementary schools all feed students into Big Foot High School.

“We get excited at that 10 point jump,” board president Joe McHugh said. “It’s showing progress. I do think that score ... it’s apparent to us that we are making progress. Student achievement is a big goal of ours, and we’re doing something right.”

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Norton said the district has tried different teaching strategies over the past two years.

“We are putting the pieces into place that are going to effect our kids’ achievement,” she said. “We’re seeing tremendous growth. We have a very strong Title I teacher now that is working with students. We’ve put co-teaching in some classrooms. Teachers are looking at teaching math and reading in differentiated ways.”



      Norton said many teachers are addressing kids needs differently.


“We’re starting to address them at the level they’re at now and getting them the education they need,” she said. “The teachers are really doing a good job.”

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The district’s largest disadvantaged student group is economically disadvantaged, and Norton said economically disadvantaged students are counted by eligibility for free or reduced lunch. The school’s eligibility for free or reduced lunch is more than 30 percent this year.

“It was that the special education group was the largest disadvantaged group,” Norton said. “Now we have economically disadvantaged students taking up a larger percent. But our closing gaps score shows that we are meeting their needs.”

The closing gaps score measures the achievement gaps between non-disadvantaged groups of students and groups that are disadvantaged. The three groups the report card measures are students with disabilities, including learning disabilities, students that are economically disadvantaged and students with limited English proficiency.

“The great worry is always that our disadvantaged students are not achieving,” Norton said. “That score jumped as well.”

In the 2011-12 report card, the closing gaps score was 51.3 out of 100. This year, the score is 76.9. Both reading and math achievements are measured in this section. Both achievement ratings increased.

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Disadvantaged student groups increased by 4 percent, and total school enrollment increased by seven students.

Check future issues of the Regional News for reaction from other school districts’ leadership on report card scores.


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