Amidon-Bowen Elementary school, under the supervision of Principal Izabela Miller, has just recently completed the second round of Paced Interim Assessments (PIA). These assessments measure progress towards mastery of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. By all accounts, the school, which is in its second year of restructuring, is making progress. The majority of the students showed gains in both their English Language Arts (ELA) and Math scores. Most of these gains were significant, which means that a student’s individual score rose 10 or more percentage points. Amidon-Bowen tested a total of 114 students in the Math PIA. Eighty-two students out of the 114 (72%) showed gains in their average performance. Two second grade students attained a perfect score of 100 percent on the math assessment. English Language Arts test scores have also seen an increase. A total of 119 students were tested in ELA. Seventy-seven students (61%) of the total group showed gains on their ELA assessment.

These gains can be attributed to the school’s continued focus on implementing the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 1-5 and the Tools of the Minds curriculum in preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten. Students are engaged in deep thinking in both ELA and Math. ELA teachers focus on planning lessons that encourage students to employ reading strategies such as asking questions while reading in order to build meaning of the passage.

Math teachers have increased their use of manipulatives and visual models to represent math concepts in order to encourage students to build a deep conceptual knowledge of mathematical processes and ideas. Students regularly engage in writing in both ELA and Math in order to be able to practice their skills in explaining their thinking in writing.

The students and staff at Amidon-Bowen continue to focus on the school’s upward trajectory in student achievement. They are confident in maintaining progress and moving forward in the next Paced Interim Assessment in March 2013.

By Kara Kuchemba, Instructional Coach at Amidon-Bowen

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