School News

News for Riverview Elementary School


Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Marion Community Schools is partnering with Marion Public Library to foster of lifelong love of reading through a new program for third-graders across the district.

Next week, MPL librarians will be visiting MCS classrooms to kick off the program. They’ll be sharing information about the library and the services it offers, and they’ll also have library card applications on hand for students to complete.

Librarian visits are set for 9 a.m. at the following schools on the following days:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 15: Kendall Elementary
  • Wednesday, Oct. 16: Frances Slocum Elementary
  • Thursday, Oct. 17: Allen Elementary
  • Friday, Oct. 18: Riverview Elementary
In subsequent weeks, librarians will return to the schools to deliver library cards and talk about family visits to the library.

At the same time, third-graders will be tracking their books read and testing their reading skills with the Scholastic Reading Counts! program. Teachers will set goals for points to be earned, and updates on progress will be made in conjunction with that second visit by the librarians.

A third visit will be scheduled after the Reading Counts tracking period, which is set to end in late November. Reading-centered activities will be featured during that visit.

At that point, new goals for Reading Counts! will be set, and more librarian visits will be planned.

MCS is excited about this opportunity to work with MPL to promote reading and help our students take advantage of the excellent resources available through our local library.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Marion High School students will get some special opportunities during College GO! Week this week, and some Marion elementary students will get an early start on their college dreams, too.

Activities, events and promotions are planned around the Marion Community Schools district in conjunction with the annual statewide push to help Hoosiers of all ages plan for college completion and career success.

Some of the highlights:

At Marion High School, highlights of the week include College Application Day, set Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, when every senior will have the opportunity during the school day to complete online applications to post-secondary institutions of their choice. Many colleges and universities waive application fees during this week, so it’s the perfect time for seniors to apply.

This year, the MHS Guidance Department has provided materials and advice to seniors in advance of College Application Day to get them prepared to submit quality applications to schools that they are seriously considering attending. Project Leadership will be helping to facilitate College Application Day at the high school.

Project Leadership will also be helping younger MCS students begin to think seriously about college and plan for how post-secondary education can help them fulfill their dreams for the future. Third- and fourth-graders at Allen Elementary School will hear special presentations to wrap up a week of activities focused on continuing education. The presentations will take place from about 12:55 to 1:45 p.m. Friday, September 27, 2013.

The message, said Debbie Stiles, counselor at Allen, is this: “College is attainable, and there are lots of different ways to get there.”

It’s important to get elementary students thinking concretely about post-secondary education, she said, because choices they make now have the potential to endanger their opportunities. Making sure students know they have the support of school staff and the community is important too, she said. It’s all about giving them the information and tools they need to succeed now and in the future.

College GO! Week is supported by Learn More Indiana, whose mission is to help Hoosier students of all ages plan, prepare and pay for college completion and career success through effective communications and outreach efforts, according to its website.

Here’s a look at College GO! Week activities around the MCS district this week:

Marion High School
  • School-wide activities: college-themed decorating contest Monday; career dress-up day Tuesday; college theme songs featured during passing periods Wednesday; college spirit wear day Thursday; college mascot day during Success periods on Friday.
  • Seniors can participate in College Application Day on Thursday; the Guidance Department will also be discussing scholarships with every senior during the week.
  • Juniors will be signing up for E-Transcript, and registering for the ACT.
  • Sophomores will have the opportunity to take the PSAT practice test, in anticipation of test day, Oct. 16.
  • Freshmen will complete a career assessment and update their four-year plan for high school success.
Tucker Career and Technology Center
  • School-wide activities: college-themed decorating contest, judging Friday; Commons open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday for college and major exploration, college applications; 21st Century Scholars senior meetings 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Commons; Ivy Tech admissions info at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Commons; Pipefitters apprenticeship info at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Commons; college T-shirt day Friday.
McCulloch Junior High School
  • School-wide activities: Various post-secondary education themed lessons and activities during classes, including interest inventories and career-matching; learning style assessments and study tips; information on opportunities available in high school at Tucker Career and Technology Center.
Allen Elementary
  • School-wide activities: college-themed decorating; “Hats Off to Graduation” day Tuesday (college/university hats allowed); “Connect to Your Career” day Wednesday (students will write dreams/hopes for future, career on paper links, which will be joined into chains and displayed throughout school); Raffle Day on Thursday (colleges have provided promotional items w/college logos to distribute); School Spirit Day on Friday (Indiana college gear encouraged, but any academic spirit wear allowed)
  • Third- and fourth-graders will hear special presentations Friday from Project Leadership about the path to post-secondary education.
Frances Slocum Elementary
  • School-wide activities: college-themed decorating contest, teachers wearing college spirit wear.
Kendall Elementary School
  • School-wide activities: College Spirit Day on Friday, daily announcements focused on post-secondary education.
Riverview Elementary School
  • School-wide activities: college fun facts during announcements; staff wearing college spirit wear.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Preliminary ISTEP+ results released by the state Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, show Marion Community Schools students at every grade level displayed growth as compared to their previous year’s scores.

The most impressive growth can be seen in scores from Frances Slocum Elementary School, where last school year’s fourth-graders improved their ISTEP+ passage rate in math by 28.4 percentage points as compared to their third-grade performance. The same group saw a 19.3 percentage point jump in English/language arts year-over-year.

Those results validate the process of looking at data closely and consistently and making sure the right interventions are in place to help students grow, Frances Slocum Principal Melissa Jessup said. Based on 2012 data, she said, they had identified vocabulary as an area of need for their students. So they put research-based instructional strategies to use to address that need.

“This makes us even more motivated to look deeper at the data, look deeper at the interventions, and start those interventions even earlier,” she said. “We know that consistency with implementation of instructional strategies can pay off.”

She emphasized the importance of that consistency and of clear communication of expectations, plans, and strategies.

“It takes a team of people with a common goal moving forward very intentionally,” she said.

At Justice Intermediate School, students also logged impressive gains. Last school year’s sixth-graders improved their ISTEP+ passage rate in English/language arts by 10.7 percentage points as compared to their fifth-grade performance. And last year’s fifth-graders improved their math passage rate by 9 percentage points over their fourth-grade performance.

At Kendall Elementary, last year's fourth-graders made big gains in English/language arts, improving their ISTEP+passage rates by 10.9 percentage points over their third-grade performance. In math, the same group improved 4.6 percentage points over their third-grade passing rate.

At Allen Elementary, last year's fourth-graders achieved a big improvement in their math ISTEP+ passage rate, up 10.9 percentage points over their third-grade performance. And in English/language arts, the same group improved 6.6 percentage points over their previous year's rate.

Riverview Elementary's fourth-graders improved over their previous year's passage rates as well, up 6.7 percentage points in math and 4.3 percentage points in English/language arts.

And at McCulloch, last year's seventh- and eighth-graders made improvements as well. The seventh-graders boosted their ISTEP+ passage rates by 3 percentage points in math and by 1.3 percentage points in English/language arts. The eighth-graders achieved a 3.8 percentage point improvement in English/language arts and a 1.3 percentage point improvement in math.

“This is a positive report for our students and Marion Community Schools,” Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “Our returning teachers and school leaders as well as the entire 2012-2013 staff should be proud of their work.” 

Students’ growth is an indicator that improvements made in recent years in MCS school buildings – from leadership and staffing changes, to designated  time for professional development and collaboration, to a focus on intentional implementation of research-based strategies and data-based decision making - have had an impact, she said.

“Everything that has been put in place is beginning to pay off,” she said.

But it’s not just the changes inside MCS school buildings that have helped students succeed, McVicker said.

“Our principals are intentional at meeting the needs of our staff and students, our teachers are intentional at meeting the needs of our students, but it’s just as important that our community has been intentional in supporting our students,” she said.

Jessup, principal at Frances Slocum, echoed that, emphasizing the community partners that have helped Frances Slocum make progress. She specifically cited College Wesleyan Church and the Frances Slocum PTO as key supporters, and she expressed gratitude for the support of parents.

And she said the progress shown in the ISTEP+ scores will only serve to motivate all involved to help every student reach his or her potential.

“The important thing is that our students are achieving and growing,” she said. “The bottom line is we want 100 percent of our students to grow every single day.”

That same motivation is spurring progress across the district, the superintendent said.

“I believe progress is being made as a result of the healthy culture and relationships being developed and the intentional instructional focus of what we want our students to learn, know and be able to do,” Lindsay said.

And in areas where strong student growth is not immediately clear in the ISTEP+ results released publicly Wednesday, school leaders are digging deeper into the data to see where improvements have been made and where additional intentional focus needs to be moving forward.

“What you don’t see in the public numbers,” said McCulloch Junior High School Principal Jim Fox, “is which specific portions students did well on. We’re still analyzing our numbers, but already what we’re seeing as we drill down into that deeper data is growth in the area of writing.”

That is encouraging, he said, because that was a point of emphasis for McCulloch staff and students last year.

The writing portion is scored on a 1-6 scale, he explained, and McCulloch last year challenged its students to score a 4 or above. According to data from the DOE, 78 percent of last year’s eighth-graders met that challenge. The year before, as seventh-graders, only 71 percent of them had done so.

Despite the gains across the district, there is certainly still room for improvement in every area at every level, as a look at the passage rates can clearly show.

“Lasting change takes time,” MCS Director of Elementary Education Brenda McVicker said. “We’re seeing steady progress.”

Superintendent Lindsay said he is looking forward to even betterthings.

“In Marion Community Schools,” he said, “our best has only begun!”
 
A look at year-over-year growth by grade level
Here’s a look at growth year over year across the district:

Notables:
  • Though this does not directly track individual students’ progress, it does reveal progress as a group of students continues to the next grade level, and takes the ISTEP+ for that level.
  • Nine out of 10 such content area comparisons (English/language arts and math at each grade level, fourth through eighth) demonstrate growth.

MCS ISTEP+ passage rates (spring 2013 and percentage point change since previous grade in 2012)

Fourth grade (2013) vs. third grade (2012)
  • English/language arts: 76.5%, up 7.3 percentage points over 2012 third grade passage rate
  • Math: 81, up 12.3 percentage points over 2012 third grade passage rate
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 71.8%, up 12.5 percentage points over 2012 third grade passage rate

Fifth grade (2013) vs. fourth grade (2012)
  • English/language arts: 60.4%, down 6 percentage points from 2012 fourth grade passage rate
  • Math: 73.2%, up 9 percentage points over 2012 fourth grade passage rate
  • STEP+ (both portions): 55.3%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 2012 fourth grade passage rate
Sixth grade (2013) vs. fifth grade (2012)
  • English/language arts: 70.1%, up 10.7 percentage points over 2012 fifth grade passage rate
  • Math: 70.8%, up 2.4 percentage points over 2012 fifth grade passage rate
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 62.6%, up 6.6 percentage points over 2012 fifth grade passage rate
Seventh grade (2013) vs. sixth grade (2012)
  • English/language arts: 56.6%, up 1.3 percentage points over 2012 sixth grade passage rate
  • Math: 63.2%, up 3 percentage points over 2012 sixth grade passage rate
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 47.3%, up six-tenths of a percentage point over 2012 sixth grade passage rate
Eighth grade (2013) vs. seventh grade (2012)
  • English/language arts: 63.7%, up 3.8 percentage points over 2012 seventh grade passage rate
  • Math: 71%, up 1.3 percentage points over 2012 seventh grade passage rate
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 58.1%, up 1.9 percentage points over 2012 seventh grade passage rate

A look at the numbers by grade level
Here’s a look at passage rates grade by grade across the district:

Notables:
  • Grades four, five, and six displayed improvement in both English/language arts and math from 2012.
  • Grade four was the strongest-performing grade level across the district in both English/language arts and math

MCS ISTEP+ passage rates (spring 2013 compared to spring 2012)

Third grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 66.1% passed E/LA; 2012: 69.2% passed
  • Math: 2013: 64.4% passed; 2012: 68.7% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 56.2% passed; 2012: 59.3% passed
Fourth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 76.5% passed E/LA; 2012: 66.4% passed
  • Math: 2013: 81% passed; 2012: 64.2% passed
  • STEP+ (both portions): 2013: 71.8% passed; 2012: 55.4% passed
Fifth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 60.4% passed E/LA; 2012: 59.4% passed
  • Math: 2013: 73.2% passed; 2012: 68.4% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 55.3% passed; 2012: 56% passed
Sixth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 70.1% passed E/LA; 2012: 55.3% passed
  • Math: 2013: 70.8% passed; 2012: 60.2% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 62.6% passed; 2012: 46.7% passed
Seventh grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 56.6% passed E/LA; 2012: 59.9% passed
  • Math: 2013: 63.2% passed; 2012: 69.7% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 47.3% passed; 2012: 56.2% passed
Eighth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 63.7% passed E/LA; 2012: 64.8% passed
  • Math: 2013: 71% passed; 2012: 56.3% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 58.1% passed; 2012: 49.6% passed

A look at the numbers by school
Here’s a look at passage rates at each MCS school (spring 2012 compared to spring 2013):

Allen Elementary
Third grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 52.1% passed E/LA; 2012: 55.2% passed
  • Math: 2013: 55.4% passed; 2012: 55.2% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 46.5% passed; 2012: 44.8% passed
Fourth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 61.8% passed E/LA; 2012: 62.3% passed
  • Math: 2013: 66.1% passed; 2012: 60.7% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 50.9% passed; 2012: 49.2% passed
Frances Slocum Elementary
Third grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 62.5% passed E/LA; 2012: 53.2% passed
  • Math: 2013: 58.1% passed; 2012: 52.1% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 48.6% passed; 2012: 36.2% passed
Fourth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 72.5% passed E/LA; 2012: 50% passed
  • Math: 2013: 80.5% passed; 2012: 47.5% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 67.5% passed; 2012: 40% passed
Kendall Elementary
Third grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 67.4% passed E/LA; 2012: 78.7% passed
  • Math: 2013: 70.6% passed; 2012: 76.6% passed
  • STEP+ (both portions): 2013: 60.7 passed; 2012: 69.4% passed
Fourth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 83.3% passed E/LA; 2012: 72.4% passed
  • Math: 2013: 87.5% passed; 2012: 62.3% passed
  • STEP+ (both portions): 2013: 81.8% passed; 2012: 55.2% passed

Riverview Elementary
Third grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 81.9% passed E/LA; 2012: 77.5% passed
  • Math: 2013: 72.6% passed; 2012: 79% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 68.1% passed; 2012: 71.3% passed
Fourth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 81.8% passed E/LA; 2012: 69.6% passed
  • Math: 2013: 85.7% passed; 2012: 76.1% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 79% passed; 2012: 66.3% passed

Justice Intermediate
Fifth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 60.4% passed E/LA; 2012: 59.4% passed
  • Math: 2013: 73.2% passed; 2012: 68.4% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 55.3% passed; 2012: 56% passed
Sixth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 70.1% passed E/LA; 2012: 55.3% passed
  • Math: 2013: 70.8% passed; 2012: 60.2% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 62.6% passed; 2012: 46.7% passed
McCulloch Junior High
Seventh grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 56.6% passed E/LA; 2012: 59.9% passed
  • Math: 2013: 63.2% passed; 2012: 69.7% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 47.3% passed; 2012: 56.2% passed
Eighth grade
  • English/language arts: 2013: 63.7% passed E/LA; 2012: 64.8% passed
  • Math: 2013: 71% passed; 2012: 56.3% passed
  • ISTEP+ (both portions): 2013: 58.1% passed; 2012: 49.6% passed

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Parents can now access ISTEP+ scoring reports for last school year's test.

To access their student's scores from Spring 2013, parents should log on to the state Department of Education's Indiana Parent Network.

Parents who have forgotten their username or password can retrieve those through the Parent Network website above. Those who have never created an account should watch their mail in the next few days, as Marion Community Schools will be sending letters to parents with Invitation Codes needed for that registration process. Parents who need further information should contact their child's school. (Click here for contact information for all MCS schools.)

Parents can also request a rescore of open-ended items/essay for English/language arts, mathematics and social studies portions of the test. Those requests must be made before Sept. 30. More information is available to parents through the Parent Network website.

A wider view of performance data by grade level is to be released by the DOE later this month. The individual student data available now is only for parents’ review, not for the general public.
 
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Parents can now access ISTEP+ scoring reports for last school year's test.

To access your student's scores from Spring 2013, click here to log on to the state Department of Education's Indiana Parent Network.
  • If you have forgotten your username or password, you can retrieve those through the Parent Network website above.
  • If you have never created an account, you will need an Invitation Code. Watch your mail in the next few days, as Marion Community Schools will be sending letters to parents with that information. If you do not receive that letter, or you have other questions, please contact your child's school. (Click here for contact information for all MCS schools.)
Parents can also request a rescore of open-ended items/essay for English/language arts, mathematics and social studies portions of the test. Those requests must be made before Sept. 30. More information is available in the Guide to the Student Report on the Parent Network. 

Public data now available

The Department of Education has now also released a wider look at the preliminary results to the public. Those results show Marion Community Schools students at every grade level displayed growth as compared to their previous year’s scores. To learn more about MCS's results, click here.