Canby's elementary students see ups, downs on statewide assessments
At the elementary level in Canby, in short, some schools' performances are up and some down.
Eccles Elementary remains at the top of the pack all-around in 2017-18, but Ninety-One School is close behind after seeing significant improvement in both ELA and math.
"We have some schools that have exhibited impressive student growth," said Superintendent Trip Goodall and Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster in a statement about assessment results. "Our administrative team works together to analyze these results and to evaluate practices that may be replicated in other schools as part of the continuous improvement process."
Eccles has consistently been a model school in Canby, but Ninety-One's scores are the result of "concerted effort" last year and are therefore worth looking into as the district eyes improvement.
"I am really proud of our work last year," said Skyler Rodolph, Ninety-One School principal. "I made a concerted effort last year to have goals specifically around improving state assessment data. Our academic goals were to see a 15 percent improvement in assessment scores in ELA and math each year for the next three years. We hit that goal in four of the six grade levels assessed."
Though, how they did that might come as a surprise as it actually involves having more fun in the classroom.
"We have been doing some work in the areas of aligning our instruction and best practices in teaching," Rodolph said. "In addition, I have encouraged my staff to get back to the heart and joy of teaching, making learning engaging and fun, yet rigorous and accessible to all.
"I think that helped empower a lot of teachers," Rodolph continued. "Many of us in education can get caught up in compliance and mandates and forget what teaching is all about. I am trying hard to keep my staff centered around what's truly important."
Lee Principal Cherie Switzer, whose students improved in both science and math, echoed Rodolph's reminder that learning ought to be engaging.
"[Lee's] students are actively engaged in quality learning throughout their school day," Switzer said. "Children retain information much better when they are excited about the topics they are learning about, and when they are busy working together with their peers to think about their thinking. We are always searching for new ways to help new learning stick with our kiddos. It is one of the exciting parts of teaching that I love to be a part of."
Lee was one of just three Canby schools that saw improvement in science. Canby's other five schools saw a decline.
There might be good reason for that. Goodall, Foster and Rodolph pointed out that Canby schools teach to new science standards adopted in 2014, but the OAKS science assessment still tests students on 2009 standards. The state plans to launch a new science assessment this year that aligns with the latest standards. If they do so, Canby schools might see science scores climb.
Even so, Rodolph suggested that the district may need to update K-8 science curriculum, since many of his teachers are having to use open source materials.
For more on Canby's assessment results, check out these related stories: Statewide assessments show room for improvement and Canby's middle, high school statewide assessment scores drop