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GESD meeting some state mandates, falling short in other areas

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education on Monday reviewed the district’s interim progress towards meeting state set accountability measures for Gloversville Middle and High Schools. The report shows the district met some measures during the 2018-19 school year and fell short of others.

GESD Assistant Superintendent James Wager prepared the report with information recently released by the state Education Department pertaining to the middle and high school which were previously identified as focus schools for rates of chronic absenteeism, math and ELA performance, graduation rate and college, career and civic readiness which is based on a value assigned to the different types of diplomas a student may receive.

Wager noted that each indicator except for chronic absenteeism is measured on an index based on a statistical formula measuring progress against the target level set by the state.

“The new system accounts for growth over time so you don’t have to hit your entire target in one cycle,” Wager said. “It just shows the measures of interim progress that the state has set for us.”

The report attached to the meeting agenda on the district website breaks down each accountability category for the middle and high school into subgroups showing if all students and individual student groups met individual targets set by the state.

ELA performance at the middle school and college, career and civic readiness at the high school showed the best outcomes with only one subgroup in each category missing the target set by the state. These subgroups were students with disabilities and African American students respectively.

Math performance at the middle school showed improvement with four out of seven subgroups meeting the target set by the state. Those that missed included all students, multiracial and white students.

The four-year graduation rate for the 2014 cohort showed three out of five subgroups hit the target with economically disadvantaged and African American students below the target. The six-year graduation rate for the 2012 cohort showed two out of five subgroups met the target with economically disadvantaged, African American and students with disabilities below the target.

At the high school for math performance only students with disabilities met the state target with all students, white and economically disadvantaged students below the target. At the middle school for chronic absenteeism only Hispanic or Latino students met the state metric while five other subgroups came in below their targets.

In three categories no subgroups met their targets including the five-year graduation rate for the 2013 cohort, chronic absenteeism at the high school and ELA performance at the high school.

Wager noted that the accountability measures will be compared to data from schools across the state to determine if accountability measures should be lifted, maintained or put in place.

“The progress we’ve made in graduation rate has really helped this index which ultimately helps our overall accountability status,” Wager added.

GESD Superintendent David Halloran described the outcomes in the report as a “mixed bag,” pointing to the measures for all students and metrics for economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities who make up a significant portion of the district’s population as areas of focus.

“We want to lift everybody up. As a district there’s a lot of room for improvement. We’ve made some gains with the graduation rate, college, career and civic readiness. If you look at ELA, math both of those for the high school and our attendance there is room for growth there,” Halloran said.

While the report examined accountability areas for the middle and high school, Halloran referred to ELA performance and the district graduation rate as “dilemmas” for the district across all grade levels, kindergarten through 12, related to the foundation students receive and habits they form in their early academic years.

To address accountability areas and make instruction more engaging for all students, Halloran discussed plans to organize professional development opportunities for teachers surrounding the use and implementation of technology in the classroom.

“As we build our budget for the coming school year and years beyond we’ll be talking about bringing more technology into the classroom,” Halloran said. “There are a lot of things that are out there that students are able to interact with to learn concepts without even realizing the instruction is taking place. I don’t know about you, but that to me sounds like a more engaging atmosphere than being a passive receptacle to somebody else’s knowledge.”

He also discussed ongoing efforts by the district to address rates of chronic absenteeism in partnership with the Fulton County Department of Social Services, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Fulton County Probation Office, while pointing to the need for parents, guardians and students to take an active role in ensuring every student attends school.

Halloran went on to thank Wager for his report and continued effort to address state accountability measures along with other district administrators.

“Jim’s our point person on these efforts and I applaud the middle school administration and high school administration for recognizing what we need to do as a district. It’s on their desks each and every day,” Halloran said.

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