Test results show Rib Lake making gains
BY BRIAN WILSON
Test results are only numbers, until you put them to use.
At the Oct. 10 meeting, school guidance counselor Michelle Rhodes walked members of the Rib Lake School Board through the most recent round of standardized testing results and shared the trends.
According to Rhodes, in many cases Rib Lake students are at or above standards. She said the testing results show trends and are used by staff to determine if supplemental work is needed to bolster curriculum in certain areas or grade levels.
Administrator Rick Cardey noted that the problem with the testing is that the students took the test at the end of April and that the districts are first getting the data now. “It is now five months old,” he said. This is one of the reasons the district does its own MAPS testing as assessment tools for students because those results are immediate.
“MAPS gives us workable information in real time,” he said.
“Is there a strong correlation between what students are getting grades and what they get on standardized tests?” asked board member Jason Dananay.
Cardey explained that there is a correlation, but at times it is impacted by the student’s test-taking strategies. For example the tests have a time limit which can be a challenge for students who want to solve problems completely before moving on to another question.
In other business, board members:
_ Received an update on district enrollment. While the student population fluctuates by grade level, Cardey reported it is currently at 490 students. This allows the district to have two sections of classes at each grade level. The numbers are also within the 10-year enrollment trend. “We are up compared to where we thought we would be five years ago,” Cardey said.
Cardey also reported on the open enrollments. He noted that 10 years ago there were 28 students involved in open enrollment either coming in or going out of the district. Now there are 77 students. He said this has to do with where people are working and access to daycare services. “If they go to Medford for daycare they start there and may stay there,” Cardey said, noting the district is closely watching the proposal to fully fund allday four-year-old kindergarten, noting it may be beneficial to Rib Lake residents to serve some of the daycare needs.
_ Reviewed the proposed budget in advance of the annual meeting set for Oct. 28. Cardey noted that until the state numbers are officially released the budget remains tentative, but he said good news is the district’s equalized value went up $17 million which will result in a decline in the tax rate as the school stays level in spending compared to previous years.
_ Approved the annual short-term borrowing resolution. The district borrows up to $1 million to handle cash flow throughout the year with it being paid off as the district receives state aid and property tax settlements. The interest rate is 1.72% which is down from last year. Last year’s borrowing cost the district $29,750 in interest and this year’s borrowing will cost $16,810.
_ Approved spending about $18,000 to replace the middle school generator. During a recent power outage it was found that the electronic interface on the 38-year-old generator was not allowing the load to power what was needed within the school building. Cardey recommended replacing it rather than spending money on a fix that may, or may not work. He noted that it takes eight to 10 weeks to get a generator in place after it is ordered. In approving proceeding with the purchase, the board directed Cardey to get bids and move ahead with the project.
_ Approved spending about $3,000 to have the landscaping redone around the middle school. The shrubs and planting around the school date from when it was built 38 years ago and it was noted that they are looking rough. The plan is to have the custodial staff remove the old shrubs and to partner with the local florist to redo the area with new plants and weed-control fabric.
_ Approved second reading of a suicide prevention policy and an on-site therapy services policy. These policies had been reviewed by the board last month.
_ Recognized Taylor County Educator of the Month Pam Schultz.