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A merry Christmas for Crawford schools

ISTEP+ scores among state's best

December 24, 2008
Last Tuesday night's Crawford County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees meeting provided early Christmas presents in the form of much good news.

First, Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge announced that Leavenworth Elementary School is the corporation's second elementary school in three years to be nominated for the federal No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award, following in the footsteps of Milltown in 2005.

"Guys, I am just ecstatic over this," he told the board, which was without members Debbie Kaiser and Myrna Sanders.

"Here you go, two schools in the same district," Eastridge said. "I just consider myself very fortunate as a superintendent.

Leavenworth is one of only eight schools in the state to be nominated by the Indiana Department of Education, and must now prepare much data for the U.S. Department of Education. Blue Ribbon schools will be announced sometime next year.

The board also learned that the school system made significant improvements on the ISTEP+ achievement test. For example, the percentage of students at English Elementary passing both the English/language arts and math components of the test jumped from 50 percent in 2002-03, nearly 19 percent below the state average, to 83.3 percent this year, about 10 percent above the state average.

At Milltown, 85.8 percent of all students passed both sections, while at Leavenworth 86.7 percent passed both sections.

"Wow! That's impressive. So, congratulations, Leavenworth," Eastridge said.

The sixth-grade scores for those schools are even more impressive, as the percentage of students meeting the standards of both sections were 92 percent at English, 89 at Leavenworth and 84 at Milltown, all well above the state average of 73 percent. English ranked ninth out of 706 elementary schools, while Leavenworth and Milltown were 22nd and 82nd, respectively.

"So, out of the 706 schools, we had three in the top 82. … I couldn't ask for much more," Eastridge said.

Unfortunately, he said, the overall percentage of students passing both sections Patoka and Marengo dropped from previous years, as both schools fell below the state average. However, Eastridge said, both schools had scored well in recent years.

Crawford County Junior-Senior High School also scored below the state average, but it showed improvement. The school barely fell below the state average of 73.6 percent, with 72.2 percent of its seventh- through 10th-graders, including junior and senior retesters, passing both sections.

That percentage was helped by the seventh grade, where 79 percent of students passed English/language arts. While still below the state average, the percentage of 10th-graders passing ISTEP's GQE, which is required to graduate, jumped from 50 percent to 65 percent in English/language arts and from 54 percent to 61 percent in math.

Crawford County High School Principal Greg Moe and Karen Sheller, principal of the junior high school, followed with a brief discussion offering more insight into the scores.

Sheller said 92 percent of seventh-graders passed math, while 79 percent passed English/language arts, the exact same percentages as when those students were sixth-graders.

"So, they've retained all that over the last year," she said.

Sheller added that eighth-graders showed improvement in English/language arts, as 67 percent passed, up 6 percent from when they seventh-graders.

Moe said 10th-grade scores are the best they've been at CCHS. He noted that on the writing prompt portion of the English/language arts section, 27 percent of Crawford County sophomores received a score of six, the best available, while the state average is just 1 percent.

In other business, the corporation:

•Passed, 5-0, the following as part of a single-vote consent agenda:

—The resignation of Kelly Birkla as co-cheerleader sponsor at Leavenworth.

—Nerissa Frame as co-cheerleader sponsor at Leavenworth.

—The Family Medical Leave Act requests of two employees.

—Amanda Dalton as a Title I instruction assistant at Patoka.

—Bus driver LouAnn Walton's request of an addendum of 31.2 miles for the 2008-09 school year, starting Aug. 7, 2008.

—Family, Career and Community Leaders of America sponsor Danelle Manship's request to take members to Indianapolis March 5 through 7 for the FCCLA state conference.

—Named Chris Moe to fill an leave of absence position at CCHS.

•Voted 5-0 to approve the submitted salary schedule for the corporation's computer technology specialist.

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