From the Superintendent's Desk
By Superintendent Leonard P. Lueck
School District of Brodhead Highlights for 2014-2015
The School District of Brodhead had another very successful year. The District, as well as each school had several accomplishments that this article will cover. One of the accomplishments for the District was its completion of a 3-5 year Strategic Plan. This Plan addressed the areas of Buildings & Grounds, Curriculum, Finance, School Safety, and Technology. Many of the items identified in this Plan have started or have already been completed this year. Another accomplishment was the successful implementation of the new State mandated Evaluation model and testing requirements. Both of these required a lot of extra work, time, and learning but all schools were able to get it accomplished. A few other District accomplishments were the Middle School roof, paying off debt, addressing post retirement benefits, updating the Personnel Manual and removal of asbestos at the Elementary School. These are just a few of the many District highlights for the 2014-2015 school year. Each of the schools had their highlights as well.
In January, Brodhead Middle School students attended a presentation titled Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel’s Challenge exists to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying, and negativity with acts of respect, kindness, and compassion. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott who was the first victim of the Columbine School shootings in 1999. Through her example, Rachel’s Challenge is making a positive impact in the lives of millions of people every year. Staff and students accepted Rachel’s Challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which has made a positive impact on the climate at the Middle School. Our way of making a chain reaction was to look for the best in others. Once a week, staff and students had the opportunity to write a good deed on a slip of paper and create a link. The chain is comprised of colorful links and was displayed throughout the Middle School. The Middle School chain had approximately 4,000 links of good deeds.
The Brodhead Middle School staff developed, adapted, and refined our Response to Intervention (RtI) System. RtI is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs. The RtI Team (regular education teachers, a special education teacher, school psychologist, and Principal) reviewed and updated the documents that describe the Brodhead Middle School RtI System. The system is made up of three tiers. Tier one is where all students receive the core curriculum. Tier two is where evidence-based interventions are provided in addition to the tier one curriculum. Tier three is individualized and intensive interventions that target the students’ specific skill deficit(s). The benchmark goal is to have students scoring at or above 20% on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. The spring reading MAP data showed that 85% of the 6th graders met the benchmark, 85% of the 7th graders met the benchmark, and 94% of the 8th graders met the benchmark. The spring language arts MAP data showed that 85% of the 6th graders met the benchmark, 85% of the 7th graders met the benchmark, and 95% of the 8th graders met the benchmark. The spring math MAP data showed that 81% of the 6th graders met the benchmark, 80% of the 7th graders met the benchmark, and 82% of the 8th graders met the benchmark. The core curriculum is considered "healthy" when at least 80% is meeting the benchmark.
Albrecht Elementary School Staff has been working very hard developing our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Grade level staff meets once a week with either the reading specialist or the math specialist to look at student progress and develop programs and opportunities for their continued success. We monitor student progress in both reading and math on a regular basis, so we have a very solid understanding of how our students are progressing in both areas. If a student is struggling, we work as a team to develop strategies and interventions that will support each individual learner. Our reading scores have grown consistently over the last two years as a result of our staff’s hard work and effort. As of the end of this year, the following percentages of students met our reading benchmark based on the 20th percentile nationally. Kindergarten 97%, 1st grade 93%, 2nd grade 90%, 3rd grade 87%, 4th grade 89%, and 5th grade 83%. We are extremely proud of our growth this year. Every grade improved their percentages from the beginning of the year to the end.
We are in the process of developing a balanced literacy program at Albrecht. Through professional development and team planning time, we are systematically providing teachers with the materials, common schedule, and tools they need to be successful. A strong curriculum and modeling/coaching opportunities from our reading specialist has been a great success for us. This will be a process going forward for next year as well as we find more opportunity for improvement.
We have developed a common assessment schedule for our students. All Albrecht Staff was trained this year in how to use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, which gives our staff the instructional reading level of each student in our school. Starting next year, all students will be tested three times a year using this assessment. We welcome the consistency of this assessment to our overall literacy program.
Brodhead High School finished the successful implementation of a change in schedule with the addition of a resource study time at the end of the school day. The resource time is intended to provide students access to all staff during a 30 min period to provide academic help. The goal for this new program is to reduce the number of Ds and Fs in all classes. At the completion of the 2013-2014 school year, Brodhead High School had 2.5% of their students fail at least one class. With the implementation of the new resource time, we have reduced the number of failures for the 2014-2015 school year to less than 1%.
One of the goals for Brodhead High School for the 2014-2015 school year was to recognize students for the character and positive contributions to our school environment. In January of this year, BHS participated in the Rachael’s Challenge program. It was kicked off by an outstanding speaker challenging our students to see the good in all people. The challenge included starting a “chain reaction” of kindness by making paper links for each act of kindness by our students. The message was then passed on to the Middle School and Elementary by the BHS student council. The response from students was tremendous as we created a chain with over 4,000 links in 4 ½ months. The chain was long enough to almost stretch a half of a mile! This program has completely changed the school culture and has made our students aware of the good in all people. For more information on Rachael Scott and Rachael’s Challenge please visit: http://www.rachelschallenge.org/big-picture/about-rachels-challenge/.