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Fayetteville district develops plan to address challenged schools

by Mary Jordan | August 10, 2021 at 7:32 a.m.
Kelli Dougan, assessment, research and accountability director, discusses ACT scores for Fayetteville School District schools Monday at a School Board workshop at Fayetteville Public Library. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Mary Jordan)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School District is taking steps to help underachieving students at five elementary schools and Ramay Junior High School, administrators said Monday.

The School Board and administrators discussed strategies for student success Monday at a workshop.

The district is addressing growth for students across the district with Asbell, Butterfield, Leverett, Owl Creek and Washington elementary schools and Ramay of particular concern based on ACT Aspire scores, said Kelli Dougan, assessment, research and accountability director.

"We have schools that we're watching that need help," said Justin Eichmann, board member.

At Asbell, 25% of students earned ready or exceeding scores in reading, while 43% met the same expectations in math, according to supporting documents. Butterfield comparatively had 46% meet the expectations in reading and 61% in math; Leverett had 28% in reading and 44% in math; Owl Creek had 34% in reading and 39% in math; Washington had 24% in reading and 37% in math; and Ramey had 37% in reading and 43% in math, according to the documents.

Ready or exceeding indicates students have mastered or surpassed ACT grade-level expectations, according to supporting documents.

The district developed a plan to address the instructional needs of the schools, said John L Colbert, superintendent. It formed a Disproportionality Committee of district administrators and stakeholders in November to address unequal growth trends in the schools, Dougan said.

Measures to help struggling students will be implemented from August through May. They include collecting data on students falling short of learning expectations, identifying students with learning shortfalls as early as possible, creating classroom interventions by teachers, frequently evaluating and modifying interventions as needed and regular building visits by the Disproportionality Committee to help support successful classroom instruction.

Measures to help struggling students will be implemented from August through May. They include collecting data on students falling short of learning expectations, identifying students with learning shortfalls as early as possible, creating classroom interventions by teachers, and frequently evaluating and modifying interventions as needed.

The Asbell, Butterfield, Leverett, Owl Creek, Washington and Ramay staff will also be trained on data analysis in addition to district-wide professional development this month, Dougan said. The six schools will likewise meet monthly with the Disproportionality Committee, she said.

Student interventions for those identified with learning shortfalls will begin the first week of school, Dougan said.

The goal is to have at least 70% of students meet growth goals during winter and spring assessments in order to have a more equitable education for participating schools, according to supporting documents.

"I'm really excited about the tangible next steps that are being implemented," said Keaton Smith, board member.

Focusing on the whole child will be key for academics, behavior, and social and emotional learning, Dougan said.

"It's a change in perspective," she said. "We're not adding anything new."

Focusing on students' social and emotional health is something the district can't overlook, said Steven Weber, teaching and learning associate superintendent.

"We know based on what kids have gone through in the last year and a half, it's no longer optional," he said.

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Remain informed

The next Fayetteville School Board meeting will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 in the Adams Center at 1000 W. Bulldog Blvd.

The meeting will be live-streamed on the FPS Board Meetings YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrvo4fc7vCuce7FWUyX9GLg.

Source: Fayetteville Public Schools

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