North and South Summit make progress
In the North Summit and South Summit school districts, students are on track for the end-of-year goals they had established in August. Now that students are home for Christmas break, faculty at the two school districts can rest assured that they can pick up on the right foot when they return in January.
North Summit School District Superintendent Jerry Holmes said it has been a great semester. "People are working extremely hard, and teachers and kids are just doing as well as they can," Holmes said.
Enrollment in the district is right where they expected it would be, Holmes said, and they are often fluctuating between 20 to 40 students. He said the growth has not affected the faculty, and they continue to strive to meet year-end goals at each campus.
North Summit Middle School Principal Brett Richins said their main objective is a reading goal that they will not be able to measure until students take the mid-year reading test in January. However, he said he believes they are right on track.
"The emphasis in our school is reading, and students have taken a couple of assessments so far to see whether they are at the reading level they are supposed to be at or if they are at least coming close," Richins said. "We are tracking their scores to monitor progress, and it looks good so far."
Holmes said each campus sets a different set of goals, and they are working hard to meet them by the end of the school year. He said until then, he is optimistic about the goals his district has set in its centennial year and is looking forward to a celebration finale in the spring. "Then it’s on to another 100 years," he said.
In the South Summit School District, faculty and students are also hard at work to meet goals they set at the beginning of the year. In August, South Summit High School Principal Steve Camp said the first two weeks of school would be crucial, because whatever is established in the first two weeks guides the year.
Camp also said they are expecting growth in the district because of the population they were seeing in the lower grades. South Summit Elementary School Principal Louise Willoughby confirmed the growth saying the school’s enrollment increased by 25 students this year.
"We lost a lot of students when the economy took a hit several years ago, so we had stayed right where we were at," Willoughby said. "Now we are gaining more than we are losing, so we are growing again."
The increase in enrollment has not affected faculty and their work, she said, and they are right where they need to be in terms of year-end goals. A community council at the school set three goals for the year and made sure the school had the resources it needed to reach them.
Meeting both a writing goal and a math fluency and accuracy goal has been aided by laptops in the classrooms that students use to practice math facts and become familiar with keyboarding. The third goal involves reading with a non-fiction focus, and Willoughby said students are headed in the right direction.
"We are very much on track to meet our end-of-year goals, especially because we have implemented new things at the school," Willoughby said.
Teachers meet every Friday at 1:30 to plan "intervention time" for students, something Camp said was created for students who have fallen behind in an area of the curriculum and need extra help.
Willoughby said the intervention time is one tool they are using to close the achievement gap between English-language learners and Spanish-speaking students. "We are getting very close to closing that gap completely," she said.