Superintendent Larry Hunt told Anamosa school board members that the numbers for the Iowa School Performance Profiles were something to be proud of at the latest meeting.
The measurement replaced the former Iowa School Report Card and went along with the new ISASP, or Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, based on the 2019 data.
At the elementary level, ratings were in the acceptable range, at a 52.02, up to commendable at the middle school, 56.19, and a commendable at the high school, 58.28. While exactly how the numbers were determined was complex, the district met expectations.
When Hunt compared the numbers to some select area schools, Anamosa compared well. Hunt compared the numbers to Marion, Monticello, Mount Vernon, North Cedar, Springville and West Branch, only Monticello showed gains at each level like Anamosa, though not as steep as Anamosa. Districts like West Branch and Mount Vernon showed larger improvements from elementary to middle school, each in the double-digits, but dropped slightly when it came to the high school.
Based on the number of students on free and reduced lunch, Hunt said the fact that there was a consistent improvement in performances in testing. Anamosa sat at 45 percent of students, higher than any other district that Hunt sampled.
“The number one indicator when you talked to anybody that’s dealing with school research data…is going to be your free and reduced rate,” he said. “According to (the) data, we’re doing really, really well with our students.”
Hunt said that the district doesn’t have a three-year-old preschool, and the four-year-old preschool and early elementary grades have a high rate of absenteeism. Strawberry Hill Elementary Principal Ellen Recker said getting young students to show up for class is a county-wide issue, as they have the highest kindergarten attendance in the county, and improved attendance was a focus for the upcoming kindergarten roundup.
Hunt said they were looking at ways to increase preschool attendance, which is less than half their kindergarten numbers.
In addition to trying to improve that, Hunt said they are also working on improving the culture, where the district is currently below the state average by measurements.
“I think we’re doing the right things with our students,” Hunt said. “I think if we continue to work on (the culture), our students are just going to continue to improve more and more.”
This was the first year the data was available for the new test.