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Scores up, but most fall short of Galt elementary benchmarks

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Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2010 12:00 am

Galt students in grades 2 through 8 have raised their scores on the English-language benchmark examination, but remain far below the district-set goal.

Curriculum Director Judy Bullard delivered the assessment data to trustees during Wednesday's regular board meeting.

In math, the story is similar for all student sub-groups, except those with disabilities, which dropped by a few percentage points between the first trimester testing and the third trimester.

The benchmark tests are given to all students at each grade level in preparation for the annual STAR examination of state standards. Benchmarks provide a snapshot of how they are performing academically and help teachers determine what concepts to spend more time teaching.

"We're looking at how they're improving over time," Superintendent Karen Schauer said of the benchmark scores. "This is very encouraging."

The district strives for 80-percent proficiency. Although no student group met the goal, Bullard called the growth across the district "promising."

Each principal outlined his or her school-specific action plan to raise scores in future years.

At Marengo Ranch Elementary, for example, students are receiving individualized help through a homework club, Principal Terry Metzger said.

For the first time ever, the district tested pre-schoolers to see whether the district's youngest students were meeting certain benchmarks and thus prepared for kindergarten. Fairsite Principal Donna Mayo-Whitlock reported that 76 percent of students could correctly write their names beginning with a capital letter, while 90 percent knew their colors and 86 percent could count to 10.

"We're seeing the value of a very comprehensive program … and a lot of follow up with qualified people," Valley Oaks Elementary Principal Annette Lane said.

During the 90 minute presentation, trustees asked few questions. Trustee Robert Ellis was absent.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

Also on the agenda

In other action Wednesday, the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board of trustees:

— Authorized borrowing up to $5 million from the California School Cash Reserve Program for next school year, if warranted.

— Adopted a resolution calling for a November election. Three trustee term limits expire this year.

— Recognized three City of Galt Community of Character award recipients.

— Discussed in closed session Superintendent Karen Schauer's performance. No action was taken.

— Approved a seventh teacher job share request for the 2010-11 school year.

— Were scheduled to look a series of board policies related to asthma and sexual harassment. The first read of each policy was a checks-and-balances exercise and is taken regularly by school districts.

News-Sentinel staff

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