The Bloomfield School District School Board learned of new programs put in place to help with the school's student growth results at the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting Thursday.
Bloomfield School District (BSD) Superintendent Dan Sichting said he and other administrators are not happy with the junior-senior high school growth model data results.
BSD received an overall grade of A from the Indiana Department of Education, with the elementary itself receiving an A and the junior-senior high school receiving a B.
The growth model data taken from the ISTEP scores is figured largely into those grades, Sichting stressed.
"That B grade is from lack of growth, and I think acceptable is 51 percent or higher growth," Sichting said.
The overall median growth for the fourth to sixth grade students who took the ISTEP was 63.5 percent for English/Language Arts and 66 percent for math.
The overall median growth for seventh to eighth grade students was 47 percent in English/Language Arts and 48 percent in math.
Sichting explained these numbers are figured using the median scores from one year to the next year the same students take the ISTEP to calculate one year's growth.
"That (the scores) is a disappointment. This is not acceptable," Sichting stressed. "In the seventh grade 47 percent had the median growth in English and Language Arts. That means 53 percent did not show one year's worth of growth."
Sichting said the first step when learning of the growth model data was to address issues among the staff, and installing more intervention programs.
Board president Dwayne Hostetter asked if the administrators thought there may be a correlation from transitioning from elementary to junior high, but Sichting said the problem may start earlier.
"This may be starting earlier, from the transition from fifth to sixth grade," Sichting said. "When do we stop teaching reading? We've had interventions for fourth and fifth grade in the past."
Sichting said the school has started reading intervention programs for sixth grade students this year, and will begin reading intervention programs for seventh and eighth grade students in the spring semester.
"We may have to do a better job at teaching reading in the higher grade levels," Sichting stressed.
He noted to the board members this is the first year the growth model was figured into the school grading scale, and the school would begin to seek ways to also track the growth data, as well as proficiency in testing scores.
Sichting said the school has been in touch with the MA Rooney Foundation to discuss monitoring the growth model data in the future.
The School Board learned the school had not received the December Property Tax and Excise Tax Settlement.
The board approved the transfer of $86,000 from the General Fund to the Retirement Severance Pension Debt Fund to make the bond payment by the Dec. 31 due date. The school was short $86,000 in the fund due to the late payment of the two settlements.
"When we receive these payments, it will go back in the General Fund," Sichting explained.
The school board approved the purchase of a 66 passenger school bus from Bluebird in the amount of $81,190, which was the lowest of three bids.
The school will add the purchase of the bus to the two existing buses owned by the school, one of which is nearing the 12-year threshold.
"This will enable us to not need to purchase a full 66 passenger bus in 2013. I will come back to you with a recommendation to purchase a mini bus," Sichting told the school board members.
In other business, the school board:
* Approved a second grade field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo for May 8 to 9 and May 9 to 10.
* Approved an out-of-state FFA field trip to the National Farm Machinery Show Feb. 16.
* Approved the following extra-curricular recommendations: Ian Ashland as the SeaPerch co-sponsor; Jennifer Bollero for the Pit Orchestra; Kalyse Reimbold as speech team sponsor; Cinda Williams as the junior class sponsor; and Eric Moody as the volunteer SeaPerch sponsor.
* Approved the hire of Angie Campbell as a long term substitute teacher.
* Approved the resignation of Sharon Sparks as the Speech Team Sponsor.