CASMAN NWEA scores on the rise

MANISTEE —- The CASMAN Academy Board of Education was told this week by director Shelly VanVoorst that test scores appear to be on the rise for the students.

One of the many things CASMAN Academy director Shelly VanVoorst reported on at the board of education meeting was a very popular Artist in Residence program where the students had the opportunity to sharpen their writing skills.(File photo)

One of the many things CASMAN Academy director Shelly VanVoorst reported on at the board of education meeting was a very popular Artist in Residence program where the students had the opportunity to sharpen their writing skills.(File photo)

Like all schools in the county, the CASMAN staff utilize the NWEA testing to track student improvement levels in their core curriculum classes. VanVoorst told the board that the second round of tests show a remarkable increase from the fall test scores.

“Teachers are cautiously optimistic of the NWEA results from the second round,” said VanVoorst. “Of the students tested for both the fall and winter NWEA  testing rounds, 77 percent improved their RIT score for reading and 64 percent improved their RIT score for math.”

RIT stands for Rasch UnIT, which is a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores.

VanVoorst said there also has been progress in students working harder to improve their grades and test scores.

“We also have witnessed an improvement in the percentage of the students utilizing the Flex-Friday time available to them once a month,” said VanVoorst. “Students improved from 36 percent utilizing the time to 55 percent using it after the winter break. Our hope is that this trend continues.”

Another topic that VanVoorst spoke with the board on was an update on the school’s food pantry.

“We are continuing to plan out new space in the school for the student food pantry,” said VanVoorst. “The new space will provide more room, and be better lit for students to utilize. The teachers are planning to have student created murals and artwork on the walls to help provide a more welcoming atmosphere as well. We hope to have our order placed for new storage and signage by spring break, utilizing grant funds and to start work on moving to the new space after the break.”

VanVoorst also told the board that CASMAN Academy officials have scheduled and completed a Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) for qualified juniors and seniors. TIP money can help qualifying students with tuition funds.

“Students need to simply fill out a quick sign up acknowledging the award which can provide up to two years of free college at a community college,” said VanVoorst. “TIP money just needs to be acknowledged before the student graduates, which is why we try to make sure the students complete the process before they leave school.”

Board members were also given a report about the Artist in Residence program that went very well at CASMAN Academy.

“We had 22 students participate  in the open mic event on the last day of the week,” said VanVoorst. “Students and staff have requested we repeat this event again.”

VanVoorst also told the board they have met with Leah Wachlin from Networks Northwest and she presented a program to the teaching staff where the students can explore career options and help them develop education plans to achieve those goals.

“The teachers enjoyed the presentation and many are making plans to add the new information to their classes in the very near future,” said VanVoorst.

Board members took action at the meeting on only one item, which was the employee monthly medical contribution. It will stay the same as the 2017-18 school year of $276.58 monthly contribution per employee.

The next board meeting will be on April 30 at the CASMAN board room.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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