City & Government, Creswell

Board evaluates data, aims to close gaps

Superintendent Mike Johnson showcases the work on the strategic visioning and planning process from the community design team during the Feb. 5 work session. Aliya Hall/The Chronicle

CRESWELL – In continuing their progress towards the Student Success Act, Creswell School District analyzed student achievement data to gauge where the district was at during the school board work session on Feb. 5.
The board found transitional curriculum gaps between fifth and sixth grade as well as eight to ninth grades, and saw how critically attendances role impacted learning and testing results.
Superintendent Mike Johnson said that this is something the teachers are now addressing in their Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to better close that gap.
”That’s an area we need to investigate: What’s in our textbooks and how does it align? Where do we need to make modifications?” He explained, adding that the PLCs are working on finding out where the curriculum is not aligning so they can teach those standards while teaching students how to take an assessment with the same standards.
In looking at the sixth grade math scores Board Chair Ashley Miller said that the scores year after year were ”concerning.” From fifth through eighth grade, the percentage of students who have met or exceeded in math from 2014-2019 have been in the 30%-60% range, while sixth grade over the years is routinely below that: 26%, 43%, 37%, 32% and 24% from 2014-2019.
Johnson has given each principal $250,000 to hire 10 substitutes per school, to give teachers the time to work in their PLCs and address where to make necessary changes to the curriculum, and already teachers are making modifications.
”It’s the first time looking at data this way,” he explained, adding that although he enjoys analyzing the data the teachers are the experts. ”They know the curriculum they’re teaching and they know where the gap is.”
Johnson went on to say that data in general is complicated, and this issue in particular is complicated.
”You have to be really sensitive when bringing data in because it can be internalized and personalized,” he explained. ”As a superintendent I take it personally. We all do because it’s what happening and we’re the people responsible. This is knowledge for our staff and a tool that they need to have at their fingertips.”
The data has also found that attendance has a direct correlation with how students do in the assessments because if students are missing school they aren’t learning what they need to pass the assessment.
Miller asked why children aren’t getting to school, and Johnson said that the input they received from the community explained that both parents are working and the older children have to stay at home and take care of their younger siblings.
Johnson added that many parents still need extra support with their kids, but he is working with parents on potential solutions and the best way the school can provide these options, whether it’s extending school hours, online courses or summer school.
The work session also gave Johnson an opportunity to update the board on the strategic planning process. He said that he has already started to receive results back from the survey he sent out to the public. Majority of the responses have come from students in the middle and high schools, but parents and community members have both been active in responding as well.
”We’re getting well-rounded participation from all stakeholders,” Johnson said.



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