The 2009-10 third-grade class at Meridian Elementary was selected as a Results Leader for Best Practices, which is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).
"We are very honored to have been selected," third-grade teacher Christy Stevenson said. "We want to make sure we do the things we have done to continue to get this success."
Of the students, 91 percent passed in English/language arts and 94 percent in math, with 89 percent pass-plus or passed both English/language arts and math.
Third-grade teacher Lana Hendrix credits the success of the students to not only their hard work, but also the hard work of the parents.
"We had students who were helping other students that hadn't quite grasped certain standards and we had some good parent involvement," she said. "We want to continue to do our best and we want the students to continue to improve."
Best Practices are research-based strategies used by the staff, which has helped improve student achievement. However, Principal Karen Phillips contributes much of the students' success to the focus of teaching on the state standards. "Students are taught the standards, then we have remediation for the students that have not mastered them," Phillips said. "We use data from DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills assessment test) and NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) data to assess a student's needs."
Meridian uses its Response to Instruction room (RTI) to work with students in small groups or on a one-on-one basis to continue reiterating what they are learning in class.
The students who are now in the fourth-grade are gearing up for the 2010-11 ISTEP+. All the students at Meridian will be taking it online. However, the applied skills will still be a booklet. ISTEP+ testing is scheduled to begin Feb. 28.
According to Phillips, there has been a lot of mobility amongst the students, the class has four new students join and nine students moved, but the teachers are continuing to focus on the growth of the individual student.
"We still had some students that did not pass last year," she said. "The teachers are working with them to pass this year."
One of the new tools Meridian is using is called Acuity Testing.
"Acuity testing is based on the IDOE standards," Phillips said. "Students take the test and then the teachers are given the results. Because everything is done on the computer, a study guide is then created for the students based on what they do not know."
In essence, the teachers have a print out that will show any improvements needed to help the student pass the ISTEP+.
The Acuity Test can be tailored to fit any child's specifications, such as selecting the grade level that the child is at, whether it is their current grade level, or a grade above or below. The program is paid for by the IDOE and they monitor which schools and children are using the program on a regular basis.
The RTI room uses Acuity to help reinforce the maintenance standards, which could be from the grade before or the current standards at grade level.
With the next round of ISTEP+ testing approaching quickly, Meridian Elementary is gearing up.
"We are continuing to focus on each individual student and their areas of improvement," Phillips said.