WSD students continued to demonstrate significant individual growth over the course of the 2016-17 school year. Individual progress ranks highest in importance to WSD’s Board of Directors, administrators, and teachers. Internal testing demonstrated that students made significant individual progress toward the target goal of 100% in math and reading. Students’ average individual growth across all grades was 129% in Math and 118% in Reading based on three data points (beginning, middle, and end-of year testing) in reference to nationally normed benchmarks.
Our students also achieved solid scores on the SAGE test in English Language Arts, Math, and Science in Spring Term 2017. Science scores were slightly lower than usual because WSD made the decision to begin teaching the new and improved Utah Science Standards a year earlier than required—and the test will not reflect the new standards until 2018. WSD received accolades once again from the State of Utah for significantly exceeding the reading and literacy goals set by the Utah State Board of Education.
The following tables reflect reliable and valid measures of the individual growth of WSD students from DIBELS (reading assessment) and i-Ready Math and Reading Diagnostic testing:
DIBELS Percent Students at Benchmark
Use this report to view student growth in math and reading relative to end-of-year growth targets.
The graphs below compare Weilenmann School of Discovery’s performance on the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) to Utah public schools and to schools within WSD’s region. (USOE Public School Data Gateway):
You can walk into any school and sense immediately whether it is a place you would want your children to attend. Something intangible but real permeates the halls, classrooms, and interactions within a school, and either invites participation, engagement and exploration, or discourages them. As you can imagine, a lot goes into creating the type of school we would want our children to attend. And among those many factors, the single most important one is the teacher.
Great teachers are skilled in how to teach, have extensive knowledge in their fields, create an inviting place for learning, and support positive school culture by explicitly teaching and personally modeling school values. The effect of a great teacher on student achievement can last for years, shaping foundational skills, motivation, resilience, and confidence.
WSD dedicated extensive resources to hiring, developing, and retaining great teachers during the 2016-17 school year. We also provided teachers with an on-demand professional STEM learning resource that personalized professional development for all WSD teachers and staff. Additionally, WSD’s Professional Development Committee approved individualized training and provided group training by local and national experts, as well as by WSD staff and administration.
The academic initiatives during the 2016-17 school year included the selection and planned roll-out of a new math curriculum in Lower School to support “real tasks” pedagogy and the improvement of creative and critical thinking in mathematics. This math instruction is now up and running in all Lower School grades.
In 2016-17 WSD began development of a school-wide, value-based character education program called “The Wapiti Way,” intended to improve school culture and support development of social and life skills. Now fully implemented, this program will foster a school community where “all members treat each other with respect, courtesy, kindness, and in a way that acknowledges the dignity of each person” (WSD Honor Code). To that end, WSD teachers embraced new Professional Culture guidelines that align with WSD’s Honor Code for students.