We made it to Friday of our first full week! If your kids are anything like mine, they are tired and ready for the weekend! It takes some stamina to get through all five days, but we are now officially in full swing. As a reminder, please view my message here if you need translation services. Last week, I shared information with you about our strategic plan and the achievement of our goals, and as I mentioned, this week I am going to share information with you about student achievement. Next week I will outline our goals for this year.
Here at Grand Ledge Public Schools, our emphasis is on the success of the whole child, which means that we want to be sure we are creating a space in which students can learn, grow, and pursue their interests in a safe, inclusive, and affirming environment. When we talk about successfully achieving strategic plan goals, a large part of that is focusing on student achievement. To those ends, we monitor that achievement in a variety of ways:
- Classroom Success - From an academic perspective, we have established clear essential learnings, or knowledge we expect students to learn by the end of the year, for all grade levels BK-8. We are actively working on it 9-12 as well, but because of the number of classes, it is a heavier lift. These essential learnings can be viewed here. We track students’ progress on these throughout the year, using classroom activities and assessments, and this progress gets communicated to families through report cards, conferences, and other classroom communications.
- Benchmark Progress - We use benchmark assessments BK-8 and 9-12 class pass/fail rates to track progress as well, in accordance with a law called 98b. This requires us to monitor student progress throughout the year for all grade levels, and share the information with our board and community. The results from last year can be found here, under the section 98b transparency tab. We use the NWEA test as our assessment BK-8; students throughout our district are taking NWEA this week and next, which not only informs these reports, but also helps guide our teachers’ instruction in the classroom.
- Standardized Tests and Graduation Rate - Every spring, 3-11 graders take M-STEP, PSAT, or SAT. These standardized tests are used for state reporting, and show how we stack up against other districts. Our scores are always among the highest in the county and the area, and we are proud of our achievement. In fact, last year, Willow Ridge and Hayes were named Reward Schools by the state of Michigan for their growth and achievement. To find information about test scores and other aspects of your child’s school, you can visit MiSchoolData’s Parent Dashboard by clicking here. Once you are on the site, you can simply search by school to get relevant information. The site also includes the graduation rate for GLHS, which is a metric that is measured by the state.
- Postsecondary Enrollment - One of our most important tasks is to prepare kids to be successful after graduation. To those ends, we can track post secondary enrollment, persistence, and graduation for GLHS students through the Postsecondary page on MISchoolData, which can be viewed here. A lot of GLHS students enroll in some sort of postsecondary educational program (that does not mean only four year colleges; two year colleges, trade schools, and other postsecondary training programs are valuable as well), which speaks highly of our postsecondary planning process at GLHS.
- Student Engagement - We know that if students are engaged, it means that we are meeting their needs and creating a school district that is welcoming and affirming. Student engagement takes many forms, including participation in sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities, attendance rates, behavior incidents, and accessing supports in our schools. While there are many ways to track this data, we know that our sports and clubs are well attended and successful, our attendance rates are generally strong, and our behavior incidences are relatively low. Students also tend to access support services of various types, including academic and behavioral, to help them stay on track. Finally, student and family feedback is important as well, and although we have gathered it through multiple formats in the past, our administrative team is making a concerted effort to increase our focus on feedback this year, so you will notice more opportunities to share your thoughts with us, as will your students.
Grand Ledge Public Schools is a successful school district, and our data across the board clearly shows that while we have room to grow, our outstanding staff and programs are meeting students’ needs every day. However, that only happens through strong partnerships and support from you, our families. We appreciate all you do for our schools and our community, and are very thankful that we have the opportunity to serve you and your students every day. If you have questions about any of the information I shared, or anything else, for that matter, please do not hesitate to reach out. I am very proud of the work we do here day in and day out, and as always, I am #proudtobeacomet! Have a great weekend!
Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools