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Focus on Education

LPOSD students soar with high ISAT scores

Well done students, staff, parents, and community! You all deserve a summer on the Lake. Students in the Lake Pend Oreille School District recorded their highest scores ever on the recent state mandated ISAT assessment this spring. This is a terrific accomplishment for all of us who worked directly with students all school year. It reflects well upon the parents of our children who supported them through homework trials and offered encouragement. Finally, it reflects well upon our community and their unending support for our children. The scores continue the upward trend of student performance and align well with district Strategic Plan goals. The following is a brief summary of student scores:

Reading: Improved from 87.89 percent proficient to 90.4 percent proficient. This met the district’s Strategic Plan goal of 90 percent of our students meeting proficiency. Our students have increased from the mid 60 percent range to our current level in four years. The district implemented a new reading curriculum two years ago that demanded a great deal from both students and teachers. We increased the amount of time spent on reading in the classroom and altered instructional strategies. Finally, we aligned our curriculum to State of Idaho Reading Standards. All of the above made a difference. The challenge ahead will be to maintain or even increase this score.

Math: Improved from 82.51 percent proficient to 86 percent proficient. In addition to our regular curriculum, many schools had competitive math teams that engaged in competition with schools in both Idaho and Washington. Individual students accessed the Apangea Math program on line. This program is a part of every elementary school and allows students to work on-line at home. By participating they increase their math skills but can also earn point to earn prizes or donate to charity. Our district was one of the more active school districts in the State using this motivational program. Make sure to ask your principal about this if you would like more details for next year.

For next year, we have adopted a new, research based math program for Kindergarten through high school. In doing so, we hope to avoid an “implementation dip” and look to improve our scores despite the stress and uncertainty teachers will feel with a new program. We have built in staff development time to increase teacher skills with the new program and look forward to the challenge of improving on an already high proficiency score.

Language Usage: Improved from 73 percent proficient to 77.8 percent proficient. This has traditionally been a weak area and we are happy to have an almost 5 percent increase. However, we still have some focused work to do, particularly in the discipline of writing. Strong writing skills are important in almost all areas of school and the world of work. We will continue to work hard in this area with our students.

Science: Improved from 65.4 percent proficient to 70.5 percent proficient; again a 5 percent increase. Frankly, some content area instruction has suffered from a lack of attention as we focused more specifically upon reading and math instruction. Those subject areas are the focus of the No Child Left Behind legislation and as a district, we felt it was imperative to have our students be successful in those subject areas. However, we are now increasing attention on other subject areas. We believe the increase in science skills is a result of the ISLES project; a partner program with the University of Idaho that is helping our teachers become better instructors of the inquiry based method of science. Last summer, we trained 20 intermediate teachers (grades 4-6) throughout the school district. This summer, another cohort of 20 elementary teachers was trained. In addition, our Upper Quartile program offered selected students additional opportunities to increase their science skills at every elementary school.

Fine Arts: There is no testing in the fine arts. However, it is worth noting from a budget standpoint the fine arts have been spared. I am pleased to report that 85 percent of our 6th grade students participated in instrumental music this year. That is a remarkable total. Arts continue to flourish through community support of POAC, CAL, Arts Alliance, and the Festival at Sandpoint along with other groups.

Outside of academics we enjoyed similar success ranging from state athletic championships to academic recognition. We look forward to maintaining this level of success. We are good school district intent on becoming even better. Together we are making a difference in the lives of the children we serve.

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Author info

Dick Cvitanich Dick Cvitanich is the Superintendent of Schools for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. He has been an educator for 33 years, and became superintendent for LPOSD in 2006. He was educated at the University of Washington where he earned a BA in History and a Superintendent's Credential. He has been married to Diane for 32 years and they have raised three sons who "taught us as much as we taught them." "I have a passion for public education and the role it plays in our democracy. In my free time I read, ski ... come to think of it, I don't have that much free time."

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