On Thursday, East Side principal Mary Ray spoke with the Clay Community School Corporation School Board in reference to the 8-Step Process the school started this year.
Ray said the program is based on the Effective Schools Research of Larry Lezotte, among others in the educational field. She said the program includes "proven qualities" from studies, including those from Michigan State University.
"As with anything new you learn, there will always be bumps," Ray told board members.
Ray said school officials had the chance to take part in a school improvement process through the office of Title 1 with the Indiana Department of Education.
The training was provided by Pat Davenport, co-author of "Closing the Achievement Gap: No Excuses," as well as Supt. Of MSD Warren Township Schools, Indianapolis, Peggy Hinkle.
Ray added Warren Township Schools implemented the 8-Step Process several years ago and have seen results.
Ray said she, four East Side teachers and Title 1 coaches attended a week-long training seminar in September. The school implemented the program in November.
The process involves eight steps, including:
* Data Disaggregation -- Analyzing student test scores to understand weak and strong instructional objectives,
* Calendar Development -- Creating an instructional timeline that gives the right amount of time to each objective and/or standard,
* Instructional Focus -- Delivering objective: Focused lessons according to the calendar and enlisting all staff in the effort,
* Assessment -- Administering a short assessment after teaching each focus to identify master and non-mastery students,
* Tutorials -- Scheduling time for re-teaching non-mastery students and augmenting learning for mastery students,
* Enrichment -- Scheduling time (same as tutorials) to deepen understanding,
* Maintenance -- Providing materials and activities throughout the school year to ensure students retain learning, and
* Monitoring -- Ensuring teachers (and students) have continuous support and instructional leadership from principal.
"It takes time to implement this," Ray said. "But we're well on our way. I'm excited."
Ray said through the program and with the help from Title 1 coaches, the school developed its instructional calendar. She added state standards were divided and grouped for instruction and printed for ease of use for teachers.
Ray said the daily schedule at East Side has been "altered" to give one-half hour each morning where all the students are then divided into groups for focus standards. Short assessments, she said, have been given at the end of each unit with documented meetings for all grade levels.
During the meetings -- or "Learning Log Time," -- Ray said strategies for student progress are discussed.
Ray's discussion Thursday is part of an ongoing effort by all the schools in the corporation to provide updates to board members.
Meanwhile, Interim Supt. Kim Tucker thanks all involved for helping students and teachers get back to school after the area suffered through severe weather conditions last week.
"We had a lot of effort and support," Tucker said.
Still, Clay County resident Jenny Moore approached the board asking it to consider adding additional snow days to the school calendar in the future. This year, the school calendar had only one snow day built into it.
In other business, the board:
* Learned from Business Manager/Treasurer Mike Fowler the corporation should be in store for a good year financially.
"We need to stay on the financial course," Fowler said. "But not only have we maintained what we have, we're moving forward. We're not recommending any cuts at this time," and
* Heard from Tucker regarding possibly having board meetings rotate from school to school. Tucker told the board she had discussed the issue with building principals recently, all of which came to the conclusion it would be best to have meetings at the Northview High School auditorium if the board elected to move them from the North Clay Middle School Media Center. Tucker said the building principals all agreed the NHS auditorium was best equipped for board meetings.
The Clay Community School Corporation meets regularly on the second Thursday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., March 10.