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Canastota elementary schools ELA, math scores improve

Elementary school educators "talking the same language" could be the key to the Canastota School Districts transition from grade three to four. According to elementary Principal Jennifer Carnahan, "consistency is the key." Carnahan said one of the goals the administration has been working on is bringing the building levels together. Teachers are working more closely together by meeting regularly and even taking on-line courses together.

Fourth grade state assessment scores were down in English Language Arts. Roberts Street Elementary Principal Tracey Mosher said the administration had been trying to identify the cause. She previously mentioned test scores were lower across the region but possibly Canastota's third to fourth grade transition from one school to the next may have played a role in the test results.

At the board meeting held Nov. 25, Mosher said last year was the first year they implemented "Guided Reading" for fourth through sixth grade students and the first year DIBELS, (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) was used.

"There are things we put in place last year," Mosher said. "We will start to see the benefits."

Carnahan and assistant Principal Kevin Kelly presented the teams Comprehensive Development Education Plan for kindergarten through third grade school year at the meeting.

Although test scores in ELA jumped as much as 11 points from the 2005-2006 school year to last year and math scores jumped 18 points in that time, the goal is to have a minimum of 80 percent proficiency. Test scores show 71.4 percent proficiency in ELA and 84.3 percent in math. Math and ELA assessments begin in grade 3.

Because of the data, the building planning team can determine the areas of weakness and then create goals to increase student learning and achievement. Grades two and three areas of improvement are in vocabulary skills. Second graders have more trouble interpreting information and understanding literary elements. Third graders have trouble drawing conclusions and making predictions.

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