By Shannon Nolte, West Nodaway superintendent

Let me begin by stating that our main priority and focus at West Nodaway is to improve student achievement while preparing our students to become lifelong leaders in their post-secondary education and careers.

The results of the most recent Annual Performance Report (APR) is in no way an acceptable measure of this goal. That should not, however, diminish the efforts that our staff and students put into the preparation and mastering of standards included on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End of Course (EOC) tests.

There were several positives to take away from our testing last spring and we continue to work to improve our instruction and curriculum each and every day. We need to continue to work hard at improving and think of ways to work smarter to achieve our goals. We will strongly emphasize the importance of increasing our performance on MAP and EOC testing and we will continue to evaluate the academic standards and our students’ mastery of those standards.

With this being said, I believe it is helpful to understand that our lower percentage scores in Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) Standard 1, Academic Achievement, and Standard 2, Subgroup Achievement, was due to the invalidation of all science scores, fifth grade, eighth grade and biology EOC.

The reason for the invalidation was because of the stipulation that school districts are to test at least 95 percent of the students who are required to take these tests. This means we had a greater than five percent LND – Level Not Determined, which in turn invalidated our science scores.

The error was correctable but was not found within the window of appeals to DESE in late October. The administration was unaware that the system did not accept an exemption for five senior students who transferred in from out of state and should have been exempted from taking the biology EOC.

If the exemption was appealed and accepted, our district would have received 12 more points in MSIP Standards 1 and 2 for our science performance and that would have given us a score of 114 out of 138 or 82.6 percent. While this is still lower than acceptable in our goals for our district, it does more accurately reflect our performance on these MSIP standards.

We have been in contact with DESE personnel and they have been helpful in guiding us to correct these errors for future scores on our MSIP Annual Performance Report. This will be important because points for progress and growth can be earned over a time period of three year averages.

As we always tell our students in every one of our classrooms, it is important to learn from the mistakes or deficiencies from the past. We must continue to improve and work hard to make ourselves better for the future.

These measures of progress are not the only indicators of success in a school, but we feel it is our number one priority to ensure we have performed at the highest possible level each and every day and year. As I remind all of our students and staff each day… Believe in the great in all we can do at West Nodaway!