Grand Island Public Schools stayed relatively steady in its student achievement scores for the 2018-19 school year and district officials say the district intends to “stay the course” to improve its scores.

According to the Nebraska Education Profile released by the Nebraska Department of Education Wednesday, GIPS students who took the Nebraska Student-Centered System Assessments scored at 42% proficiency in English language arts (up from 41% last year), 41% in math (down from 42% last year) and 43% in science (down from 50% last year).

The state average is 52% proficiency in both English language arts and math, and 66% proficiency in science.

For individual schools, Engleman Elementary scored the highest in both English language arts and math at 64% and 67%, respectively. Seeding Mile Elementary also had 64% proficiency in English language arts. The school also scored the highest in science at 75% proficiency.

Walnut Middle School scored the lowest in English language arts at 24% proficiency.

West Lawn Elementary scored the lowest in math at 17% proficiency, while Knickrehm Elementary scored the lowest in science at 28% proficiency.

For juniors who took the ACT test, 29% were proficient in English language arts (down from 31% last year), 37% in math (up from 35% last year) and 37% in science (down from 38% from last year).

NSCAS tests for ELA and math are used in grades 3-8. NSCAS tests for science are used in grades 5 and 8. All high school juniors take the ACT as their state assessment for the three subjects.

“We have asked a lot out of our staff, our students, our parents and our community in the past few years to get the district to a point where we have the pieces in place to thrive,” said GIPS Superintendent Tawana Grover. “We know our best path forward is to continue to concentrate on full execution of the strategic plan, teaching the standards-based content and amping up our focus on attendance.”

Grover said the GIPS staff has been through a lot of large-scale projects and initiatives since the district adopted the five-year strategic plan in 2017. Based on district data collected throughout the past few years, GIPS established three top priorities heading into the 2019-20 school year to make improvements in student achievement: attendance, social emotional learning and equity.

“We want to thank our stakeholders for their commitment during the heavy lifting of changes and implementations,” Grover said. “Now is the time to stay the course with these initiatives. We are starting to see the positive impact they have made. By focusing on our priorities, we’ll keep working until we meet our expectations and our community’s expectations for all our students.”

GIPS received an overall “good” Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow classification by NDE. Three GIPS schools (Engleman, Shoemaker and Seedling Mile elementary schools) received a “great” classification.

Howard Elementary was originally listed as “Needs Improvement” last year, but received a special bump to “good” with an adjustment due to education-based analysis. This year, Howard earned a “good” AQuESTT classification without need of an adjustment.

GIPS said Howard also had growth in attendance measures, which is one of the district’s three priorities this year.

Three GIPS schools (West Lawn, Walnut and Grand Island Senior High) received “needs improvement” classifications this year. They received the same classification last year.

Equity is a focus of the new accountability system and is another GIPS priority this year. The state provided analysis looking at each school’s student group outcomes, identifying groups whose outcomes are disparate from their peers.

“We are focused on equity this year and the state is focused on holding us accountable for equity in our district,” Grover said. “Our job is making sure the great things we are doing are getting done in every classroom and each student is getting what he or she needs to succeed every day.”

She added GIPS is utilizing the state-provided data as well as internal district research to make gains in each of the targeted areas of students. What it comes down to, she said, is following the plan and system put in place during the last few years to ensure all students have the opportunity to meet and exceed standards in all areas.

“We are moving forward as one,” Grover said. “Our schools, parents, families, partners and community will improve our student achievement together.”

Northwest Public Schools

Northwest Public Schools also stayed relatively steady in its NSCAS scores. Northwest students scored at 55% proficiency in English language arts (down from 60% last year), 64% in math (down from 65% last year) and 74% in science (down from 78% last year).

For individual schools, 1-R School scored the highest in math at 69% proficiency and in science at 77%. Cedar Hollow scored the highest in English language arts at 59% proficiency.

Chapman School scored the lowest in both English language arts and math at 41% and 44% proficiency, respectively. St. Libory scored the lowest in science at 72% proficiency.

For juniors who took the ACT test, 58% were proficient in English language arts (up from 44% last year), 58% in math (up from 57% last year) and 56% in science (down from 58% from last year).

Northwest Public Schools received an overall AQuESTT classification of “great.” 1-R Middle School received the district’s sole “excellent” classification. 1-R Elementary, Cedar Hollow School (both elementary and middle school) and St. Libory Middle School received “great” classifications.

Chapman School and Northwest High School received “good” AQuESTT classifications.

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