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Test scores get school board's attention

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Though school districts across the country often greet annual ISTEP scores with fingers crossed. This year, South Putnam High School greeted the news that scores were out with celebration

"I'm really proud of the job everyone is doing," said South Putnam High School Principal Kieth Puckett. "We're all in this together, but it's a shared success with all our partners."

In his report to the South Putnam School Board this week, Puckett officially presented 2007 ISETP results, indicating that the high school made a 4-percent gain across the board. The school also showed the highest graduation rate in all of Putnam County for two years in a row.

"We are doing more with less," Puckett said. "Changing the culture of the school has really helped the 2007 ISTEP results."

According to the Indiana Department of Education, 74 percent of South Putnam students passed both language arts and math portions of the controversial standardized test in 2007, placing the school just 1 percent above the state average. However, Puckett presented his own data set revealing that South Putnam High School students scored five percentage points above the Putnam County average.

"I'd put our student scores against anyone in the county's," said Puckett, but he warned that there is always room for improvement. "We have a plan for '08 we think we see each step of the way and how we can improve every year."

Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt also reported on ISTEP scores for the corporation, citing dramatic improvement special education scores. According to Bernhardt, only eight percent of seventh grade special education student passed the test in 2006, but that number increased to 29 percent in 2007.

To find detailed information on your school visit http://mustang.doe.state.in.us/SEARCH/se....

In other business:

* Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt reported that the school corporation received a full day kindergarten grant, paying a minimum of $600 per student. The $ 71,000 grant will go to the addition of two full time teachers. Currently, every kindergarten student in the South Putnam district is taking advantage of the full day option.

* Board members accepted a personnel report including the following resignations: Monty Radar, Central Elementary custodian; Greg Branham, high school custodian; Hollis Shepherd high school custodian; Peggy Quigley, high school custodian; Jessica Roseberry, Central Elementary instructional assistant.

The report contained the termination of Kristy Murrell, part-time food service worker at the high school and included one new hire, Scott Freeman, in a remediation position at the high school.

* The board approved a measure allowing a end of year inter and intra fund transfer. According to Bernhardt, the transfers are from one line item in the general fund to another.

* The board also voted to transfer $342,000 from the general fund to the rainy day fund. The funds are made up of one-time payments from a bond refinance and a rebate from Anthem earmarked to pay for future health insurance needs. The transfer, according to Bernhardt, is intended to prevent that money from co-mingling with other funds and being spent inadvertently.

* Puckett also updated the board about South Putnam's progress earning grant funds to support technology in the special education curriculum. Teachers will be preparing new lesson plans to submit to Universal Design For Learning who will evaluate the plans and award grants.

* The Farm Bureau will be holding monthly legislative updates with legislators on the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Building in Greencastle.



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