Understanding DL

Megan Zalzala · Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The West Liberty school board held their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, with the dual language program being the focus of discussion.

Although school board meetings are usually held on the first and third Mondays of the month, this meeting was rescheduled due to the Labor Day holiday. All board members were present.

The meeting was called to order by Board President Chris Martin. David Millage moved to approve the agenda, with Emily Geertz seconding the motion.

The first item on the agenda was fundraising requests.

There were three up for approval at this meeting: the West Liberty Athletic Boosters Drive 4UR School, the Penny War from the elementary school and the high school cross country team is planning on selling candy bars. All of these requests were unanimously approved.

Next, the board listened to the second reading of Acceleration Policy 505.2. There were no comments or discussion on the policy and it was approved.

Superintendent Potts said, “It does align very nicely with the Iowa School Board policy for retention and acceleration.”

The board then talked about superintendent goals.

“The only thought I had when I read these, most of these are action steps, which are good; but I was wondering if, particularly in the academic sections, that we could come up with metrics that are measurements of success. I think that would be really helpful,” said Millage.

Superintendent Potts suggested looking at grades 3, 8 and 11 to use as benchmark grades for metrics.

Following the discussion of goals, Superintendent Potts talked about the Superintendent Report.

“We discovered this week that last year we had 23 students on the waiting list for kindergarten,” said Dr. Potts. “There were nine left on the list this year and they were starting to call names for 1st grade slots.”

In addition, Superintendent Potts said that they are pursuing a Spanish enrichment opportunity for kindergarteners currently on the waitlist for the dual language program. The funds for this would come from private donations.

This would be a partnership with the West Liberty Public Library and would help kindergarteners on the waiting list prepare for possible entry into the dual language program and offer an introduction to the language.

Also, Dr. Potts would like to evaluate the dual language program as a whole.

“We will form a dual language program study group,” said Dr. Potts. “I think it’s about time we study the program from top to bottom.”

Superintendent Potts noted that there was a “significant attrition rate” in the dual language program.

Last year, in the graduating class, over 80 percent of the students that enrolled in the dual language program as kindergarteners did not see it through to completion through senior year.

Overall, enrollment is going up at the schools.

“We have seen an increase in enrollment, but we are not bulging at the seams,” said Dr Potts. “The good news is we are trending upwards.”

Next, Dr. Potts talked about ways to improve gathering and distributing information.

“We are adamant about the way we record information and disseminate information,” said Dr. Potts. “Next year, for example, we will do electronic registration to our fullest capacity.”

“We need to make sure we get good representation of the data,” said Chris Martin.

The board talked about the need for more information at all grade levels in the dual language program as a way to better understand the program and why students might drop out of it.

“We have a tendency when we talk about dual language to focus on early grade review,” said Lynne Sasmazer. “I would hope this review would take a good hard look at the 6-12 level because that is where there is a lot of attrition… I would hope this review would be all the way up.”

Superintendent Potts said they are looking to form a team to examine the dual language program and that this team will be broad-based, composed of teachers, students and parents.

In other news, the Elm Street project is coming along and the estimated completion is October.

Future agenda items include annual reorganization activities (such as officer elections), the fourth grade and summer reading reports, and an update on the Spanish assessment for the dual language program.

The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the school board will be Monday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.
More News
©2017 West Liberty Index | Web Development by Brian McMillin, LLC