Canastota: Scores up in third grade math

The percentage of elementary students reaching higher grade levels on state assessments shows improvement through mid-year.

"We are not where we want to be yet, but we are improving and heading in the right direction," said June Clarke, principal of South Side and Peterboro Street elementary schools.

Building planning teams updated the school board on where student levels fall within state assessments of English Language Arts and math following goals set by the district's Comprehensive Development Educational Plan.

One of the district's goals is to have 80 percent of its students passing state assessments. Data provided revealed that more second and third grade students were at state levels three and four, with level four being the highest state level. In 2006, 64 percent of second graders were at ELA levels three and four. At the end of last year, 68 percent were at levels three and four.

The largest margin of improvement was third grade math assessments. In 2006, 66.9 percent of third grade math students were at levels three and four. That number jumped to 80.9 percent.

Clarke and Assistant Principal Jennifer Carnahan said the district uses several teaching methods including Guided Reading, Effective Communicator, DIBELS and Handwriting Without Tears, but the use of curriculum maps and analyzing data helps drive instruction.

Clarke said all teachers have curriculum binders with monthly objectives outlined for every subject.

"We are using the information to help us decide how we need to teach," Clarke said. "The data reflects we are going in the right direction."

Clarke said teachers often discuss best practices for teaching and talk about what works and what doesn't.

Math scores slip for fifth graders

Mary Farber, principal at Roberts Street Elementary School told board members she wasn't sure new textbooks was something they needed to look at.

Farber said fifth grade students at state levels three and four showed a slight decrease and is something teachers took a hard look at.

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