By PAUL MORALES
The Warsaw Board of School Trustees met Monday night for a nearly three hour session, during which Warsaw Community Schools’ Chief Accountability Officer Tom Kline revealed preliminary ISTEP scores for WCS. Every highlighted school and the corporation as a whole showed improvement in both language arts and mathematics.
Representatives of Edgewood Middle School gave a special spotlight presentation, summarizing their efforts and achievements for the 2012-2013 school year. Edgewood Principal JoElla Smyth reported the school saw a five percent increase in its ISTEP language arts scores, a six percent increase in mathematics, and a 20 percent increase in social studies.
Smyth and her team credited the improvement to a number of new tactics. One of the first was something the Edgewood administration called “Smart Answers,” which was a school-wide policy that students would respond to questions in complete sentences, and also provide justification for their answers.
Students also were made aware of their 2011 test scores and given the opportunity to set their own goals for their 2012 ISTEP. In addition to goal setting, students were also required to express in writing their strategies for reaching these goals. Teachers met with students on an individual basis to assist in this process, allowing both students and staff to own the responsibility of their success. Smyth and the Edgewood team stressed the importance of connecting the individual dreams of their students with their goal-setting skills.
“We pursue our dreams by achieving our goals,” said Smyth.
WCS as a whole saw improvements in their ISTEP scores, with pass rates reaching above 81 percent in both language arts and math. This is compared to 79 percent in language arts and 76 percent in math in 2011.
The board also voted on the proposals presented by Kovert Hawkins Architects Inc. and CSO Architects at a work session held Tuesday, June 19. The two firms were being considered to undertake WCS’ master facility plan project. In a unanimous decision, the board voted to offer the job to Kovert Hawkins Architects.
Jamie Lake, one of Kovert Hawkins’ principals and the project manager for the master facility plan, was in attendance at the meeting.
“We’re very pleased to be able to continue our relationship with you,” said Lake. “Warsaw’s become another home for us. We love it here … We’ve made a lot of good friends here.”
Monday night’s meeting also saw a number of awards and honors conferred by the board, including two student awards. WCHS Athletic Director Dave Anson recognized both Ashley Erba and Spencer Reinhardt as outstanding student athletes for the 2011-2012 school year. Erba is currently 11th in her class and academic all-state. Reinhardt graduated this year and is moving on to represent WCHS at the University of Notre Dame.
Teachers and staff were also honored at the meeting. Nicole Cervone-Gish, a first-year teacher at Madison Elementary, was recognized after winning a classroom makeover valued at $10,000 from Honeywell and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The award came after Cervone-Gish’s entry into the annual Got 2b Safe contest, where teachers are judged based on their ability to creatively engage students with ideas of safety.
The next regular session for the WCS Board of Trustees is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, July 23.