Nagler cites gains in NWEA exams

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Mineola Superintendent of Schools Michael Nagler said last Wednesday that Mineola students continue to improve on the Northwest Evaluation Association exams the school district began using three years ago. 

“The NWEA has been designed around being a growth model and it gives individual targets for every student grades K through 9 and we have the ability to assess children three times over the course of a year,” Nagler during a presentation at the regularly scheduled school board meeting. 

“In the middle school overall the numbers were much better than last year in terms of students making target growth, but we still have some work to do in children becoming proficient. Our real work is always going to be in our younger grades, the higher percentage of kids we get at grade level at Meadow, Jackson and Hampton, the more this will fix itself as it goes forward,” Nagler said. 

The NWEA gathers their exam results from children of similar age across the nation and predicts what the typical growth would be for each age. They establish these marks in the beginning of the year, and students work towards attaining their target growth by the end of the year. 

The mean growth for grades K through 9 in each Mineola school was higher than the national mean growth, Nagler said. Additionally, the percentage of students who achieved their target growth in 2013 compared to 2012 grew in every grade except for Kindergarten and fourth grade, which had a combined decrease of 3.7 percent, he said.

Nagler said 83.4 percent of middle school students met their target growth in math and 70.8 percent of middle schoolers met their target growth in reading. 

At the meeting, the board unanimously adopted a tax levy of $77,906,690 for the 2013-14 school year. 

The breakdown of the tax levy won’t be known until the county makes its base adjustments in September, but last year the tax levy was split 50 percent residential, 38 percent commercial and the remaining 12 percent between condominiums and utilities.

Nagler said he hopes that construction taking place in the district this summer would be finished by September. 

He said that there are books on the shelves at the Meadow Drive library, most of the new security stations around the district are done, and, “with the exception of interior doors at the high school, everything else should be in very good shape for opening day.”     

Nagler said 400 Ipads have already been handed Mineola middle schoolers, representing nearly two-thirds of the students.

 “Children want to be productive during the summer academically and keep their brains going,” Nagler said. “It’s an extension of the school year in the 21st century. This is what the extended classroom looks like.”

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