January Board Meeting Highlights

Each month the North Cedar School Board shares a few highlights of our monthly board meetings. These takeaways are messages that the board collectively feels are important for the public to know. Here are the highlights from the Jan. 18, 2021, meeting:

Elementary Reading Interventions. An individualized program of working with kindergarten students to improve recognition of upper and lower case letters and sounds showed 98% proficiency in one test category assessed in early January. Improvement as high as 63% was also observed in another test category from September to January. This success is the result of a reading intervention program that supplements traditional classroom teaching with up to 30 minutes per day of additional focused instruction for groups of students matched by skill level. The intervention time is led by elementary specials’ teachers along with reading and classroom teachers. Research shows that mastering the core foundations of reading early in a child’s education afford more success in the long term. The program was expanded to include first grade in Lowden this year and has the potential to reach other grade levels and subject matters in the future.

Secondary MAP Testing Growth. Despite the challenges the pandemic has presented to student learning, fall 2020 reading and math MAP testing at the junior and senior high level shows students performed better, on average, in the fall of 2020 than they did in the fall of 2019. Students in grades 8 through 11 exceeded the fall norm for reading in both 2019 and 2020. Math scores were also strong. While many classes showed growth or little regression, there is still room for improvement and the district continues to utilize MAP testing and other assessment data to adapt learning methods to best prepare our students.

Significant Interest Savings. The district refinanced $3.1 million in School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds. The bond sale on existing construction debt will save district patrons $302,000 in interest payments over the next nine years. The lowest proposal came from Bridge Community Bank, Mechanicsville, in cooperation with Liberty Trust & Savings Bank, Durant. Their average interest rate of 0.79% resulted in an additional interest savings of approximately $115,000 above the next closest proposal. We thank these local banks for their partnership.

To view the full agenda and attachments of North Cedar School Board meetings, click the Online Board App button at https://north-cedarstu.org/Board_of_Education. Meeting minutes are also posted online following each meeting.