Board hears annual report

The Independent School District Board heard good news in the district’s 2012-2013 annual report presented by Dr. Ryan Laager Thursday.

Changes are in the works with curriculum that will be reviewed going forward to ensure that students are provided with the most current information and to keep up with developing student’s 21st-century skills.

“When it comes to tests our students are leading their peers in the state and in the conference our sports compete in,” Laager said. “Statewide, reading decreased by 20 percent when it came to scores due to the new test but in various grade levels across our district our students were above Minnesota’s average test score.”

In the reading portion of the test, the district came in at 70 percent of students passing while the rest of the state got 58 percent and conference schools had 62 percent pass.

He added that the same thing occurred in math this year with state scores decreasing and scores in Stillwater schools increasing by 16 percent. The Stillwater district has a 73 percent passing rate while the rest of the state had a 60 percent rate and conference districts have had 66 percent.

In science tests, Stillwater students had a 61 percent passing rate while the state had 52 percent and conference districts had 59 percent.

The ACT tests taken by students cam in at an average score of 24 which Laager said is the highest score in district history.

When it came to advance placement testing, Laager highlighted the fact that more students are enrolling and getting college credit through their AP tests.

“Last year, 851 students in grades 9 through 12 took AP exams. Of those, 76 percent received scores of 3, 4, or 5 on their tests,” Laager said. “The general uptick in test takers has allowed some of our students to gain 50 or 60 college credits through AP exams and the cost savings are exponential for the students and their families as they head to their post-secondary education.”

He added that although AP classes have been open to all students for quite some time, there’s still a concentration on making sure that the students take the right classes for them as a way to personalize their learning and keep them in their learning targets.

“One of the teachers I’ve talked to said it best, that he wouldn’t think it was responsible for him to have a student take a test that they weren’t prepared for, and a lot of teachers are doing that to make sure that their students learn the material and not just learn it and forget it but maintain it,” Laager said.

“When it comes to that I’ve dealt with the learning targets too,” said student board member Nick Alm. “I took an economics class and we were told to go home and look at a sheet and see if we’d learned what we needed and I answered no to almost all the questions. So that led me to see if I needed to get help from a smarter friend, or talk to the teacher again to get some extra help. In the end I got to spend more time with the material and I learned more too.”

To find the complete report go to www.stillwaterschools.org

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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