Monthly School Report (January 2017)

Superintendent Steve Hanson · Wednesday, January 25, 2017
This month the Iowa Department of Education (DE) released the Iowa School Report Card for 2016-17.

This report is a new tool, developed last year by the DE in response to a legislative requirement. The Iowa School Report Card scores schools on various educational measures, and assigns an overall rating to each school based on its performance on the measures.

There are six categories of ratings: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority. Our schools’ ratings are “Needs Improvement” (Elementary), “Commendable” (Middle School), and “Acceptable” (High School).

The table below contains the cut scores for each category for 2016-17:

Elementary schools are rated on 6 different measures, middle schools on 7 measures, and high schools on 8.  The table below displays the weightings for each measure in a school’s overall score:

For high schools, 77.7% of the overall score is based on the Iowa Assessment scores for reading and math; for middle schools 87.4%; for elementary schools 85.8%.

The Iowa School Report Card does not make adjustments for schools with high percentages of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, or students who are English Language Learners.

English Language Learners do not perform as well on the Iowa Assessments as students who are fluent in English.

In the West Liberty Community School District (WLCSD), 30-50% of the students at each grade level, for grades K-5, are English Language Learners (ELLs); a good portion of these students exit the ELL category as they enter 6th grade.

As a category, students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch do not perform as well on the state assessments; very often, when they enter school, they are already “behind” their peers who do not fall into this category of poverty. 60% of the students in the West Liberty Community School District qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The DE advises that an overall school rating does not provide contextual information, nor does it made a conclusion about the quality of staff, or reflect ongoing work to raise student achievement.

Stakeholders can use the data to compare, to identify trends, to develop goals, to identify needs. The full report for each of our buildings can be found at our school website: to District Information to Student Achievement.

For an interactive version of the state report card, visit the state website at

We are proud of  the following fall sports teams for earning Academic Achievement Awards: volleyball and girls’ cross country [Distinguished (3.25 and above)]; football, boys’ cross country, and football cheerleading [Excellence (3.0-3.24)].

You have read in a previous edition of the Index about the assembly before Winter Break at WLHS -- a reward for the students reaching behavior goals.

Also, you probably read about the 18 students who took time out of their “day off” on January 16 (MLK) and made it a “day on,” working on tie blankets and making cards for the UI Children’s Hospital.

The generous students who gave their time for others were Katelynne Macias, Haddie Anderson, Jaida Dalton, Morgan Nichols, Kelzi Mather, Emily Rodriguez, Kiara Hernandez and Natalie Rodriguez, Paola Palma, Karla Velasco, Martha Pace, Emily Bierman, Finley Hall, Brooklyn Buysse, Zajit Melchor, Christian Gomez, YozeLynda Rivera and Jonathan Kelley.

Reynolds Heath (Euphonium), Daniel Zeman (Clarinet), David Lara (Trumpet), Terrance Salinas (Trumpet), Ashton Burroughs (Flute) and Jaiden Urquhart (Flute) invested extra effort to prepare for and try out for SEIBA Honor Band. Daniel Zeman was accepted and performed with the band last week.

WLHS teacher Olivia Symmonds organized the large group Speech contest that took place at WLHS on Saturday, January 14. Over 350 students from eight different schools came to compete.

All of West Liberty’s teams earned Division I ratings; one of the WLHS improv teams won 2nd place for best improv group of the day.

The top ten students in our recent geography bee for grades 4-8 were Chance Thrasher, Maya Barrera, Mary Norris, Ashton LeMay, Sebastian Lovell, Jacobo Saucedo, Jaiden Urquhart, Joel Jacobo, Ruben Meraz and Addyson Lehman. Ruben Meraz won the competition.

Show choir season has started and Voices Unlimited (the WLHS show choir) is off to a good start.

Please make time in your schedule to come to the high school on Saturday, February 4 to see Voices Unlimited perform, along with more than a dozen other show choirs who will be competing for various awards that day.
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