“After reviewing the testing results from last year, I wish I could report to you that were close to the top. I can’t report you are close to the top because you are the top,” announced Mr. Pretzer.
By Marissa Loll
On December 22, 2017, the students in Scranton Public School met in the gym for an assembly before school was dismissed for the holiday break. Superintendent, John Pretzer, and principal, Kelly Pierce, congratulated staff and students on their academic success.
Recently, it has become much easier for the public to see how many students are proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in a school. ND insights, the state’s official source for information about public schools across North Dakota, released data from 2016-2017 school year.
According to the site, “Families, researchers, policy makers, and community members can use the site to find school data, including academic performance, school environment, educators, students, and highlights provided by principals.” Site visitors will find the site pretty easy to navigate.
In a current release from North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, “State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says a new “school dashboard” will offer North Dakota parents and taxpayers an easier way to look up information about how their local schools are performing.”
Readers are encouraged to visit insights.nd.gov to explore their school statistics and proficiency percentages.
Scranton Public School district is ranked 1st out of 178 reporting school districts in North Dakota in ELA. As spectators will see on the dashboard, 83.1% of the students are proficient in ELA. This means 108 out of the 131 kids are proficiently writing in the SPS district. The schools educators credit part of this success to the Step Up To Writing (SUTW) infused with critical literacy curriculum they use to teach ELA.
According to Michelle Engraf, grades 7-12 English teacher, “SUTW is a writing process that is used in all content areas across all grades.” All SPS educators including paraprofessionals, are trained in the program. In fact, three of the staff at SPS have become certified trainers in SUTW infused with critical literacy. Gretchen Flatz, Michelle Engraf, and Dr. Karyn Chiapella are also known as the 3WriteDivas. They have traveled to neighboring schools and in-services across the state sharing the writing process that has been proven successful in the SPS district. Their mission is to turn kid’s inordinate “fear” of writing into creative fun and success through organization and multi-sensory methods. Follow the 3WriteDivas on Facebook or call 275-8897 for more information.
Adding to their successful performance, Scranton Public School district is ranked 2nd to Wyndmere Public School district statewide in mathematics.
Staff has been discussing utilizing IXL, a subscription web based program that provides immediate feedback, in grades 7-12. Currently, the IXL program is used in the K-6 grades.
Overall, SPS staff attribute their success to their teachers dedication, successful classroom management to assure a positive learning environment, tools such as IXL and SUTW, along with supportive collaboration with students, administrators, and the school board.
SPS educators will use their success as incentive to continue to help their students become proficient readers, writers, and mathematicians.