During last Thursday’s Big Walnut school board meeting, district Director of Academic Achievement Jen Young said the district is in the middle of three weeks of state-mandated testing, and what a difference a year makes.
During the 2014-15 school year, school administrators and boards of education members statewide objected to state-mandated PARCC and AIR assessments that, they said, took time and resources away from classroom instruction without providing useful information about students’ strengths and weaknesses until after the school year ended.
PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments were adopted by Ohio for 2014-15 English language and math evaluations; AIR (American Institute for Research) for 2014-15 science and social studies evaluations. That, officials said, became a time- and resource-consuming problem – two test vendors with different test windows.
Over last summer the state dumped PARCC and AIR got the 2015-16 contract, with AIR testing on all four platforms, and testing moved to later in the spring.
“We’ve had zero complaints about testing this year,” Young said. “It’s not like last year. Testing is not interrupting instruction.”
Young said a kindergarten assessment pilot program would soon be started at General Rosecrans Elementary School. She said the kindergarten assessment would focus on development of the whole child, not specific academic areas.
In other business, board members approved a two-year contract for Josh Frame as the Big Walnut Middle School principal, at an annual salary of $85,000.
Mark Inscho, the school district’s maintenance department on-staff electrician, upgraded lighting at the Big Walnut High School gymnasium over last summer, installing new LED fixtures and bulbs. During the board meeting, Superintendent Angie Pollock read an American Electric Power “Certificate of Energy Efficiency” the district received because of Inscho’s work.
Inscho said the new lights have a 20-year life cycle for additional savings; the old lights had to be changed every two or three years.
Pollock said the annual energy savings of the new LED lights is the equivalent of keeping almost 17 cars off the road for four years.
“Mark went above and beyond,” Pollock said. “We’re always trying to teach our kids to be green. These new lights will not only save energy but also labor costs over the years.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093