District improvement letter, year 1

Dear Parent/Guardian:
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires that all states create high academic standards for the core areas of reading, writing and math. The goal of NCLB is for every student to meet or exceed these standards by the school year 2014. The measure of annual progress toward these standards is called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). AYP is based primarily on the results of the Nebraska state assessments given to students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11. Schools must meet the state’s academic proficiency benchmarks, as well as other indicators such as test participation and attendance/dropout rate, to make AYP.
In addition to measuring each school, NCLB also requires the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) to annually review the progress of each school district. Based on Nebraska state testing results, the Grand Island Public School District was identified by the NDE as a district in need of improvement for the 2013-14 school year. A district is identified for improvement if it meets this criterion:
  • Does not make AYP in all grade spans within the district [elementary (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8) and high school] for two consecutive years in either content area of math or reading, considering all eligible student subgroups.
To be removed from the district improvement status, the district must meet the grade span achievement standards for two consecutive years.
The Grand Island Public Schools is dedicated to providing all students with a quality education that prepares them to be career and college ready. Evidence of our commitment to education is shown in the academic growth for both reading and mathematics as documented on the 2012-13 assessment results. GIPS improved the percent of students proficient in 34 student groups in reading and 39 student groups in math. If you would like to compare achievement scores in the district to others across the state, you may access the information on the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) State of the Schools Report at http://reportcard.education.ne.gov.
As a Title 1 district identified in need of improvement, GIPS is required to communicate the district improvement plan strategies specifically addressing the teaching and learning needs of low-achieving students. The goals and strategies identified in the plan intentionally focus on optimizing instruction for all learners using researched based practices with on-going professional learning for staff.
An important part of this effort involves parental involvement and support. Parents/guardians and students can monitor progress (grades 6-12) by registering for and using Infinite Campus. Participating in parent/teacher conferences, attending parent/family nights and providing “at home” strategies to support reading and math learning are also key to supporting the home/school partnership.
We will continue to communicate with you throughout the year regarding the school improvement efforts underway and hope you will join us in supporting our students and teachers as we work toward reaching our goals for next year.
Please call if you have additional questions about any details.
Toni Palmer
Director of Student and Support Service