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District officials examine WASL results
"The reviews about the results from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning within the South Kitsap School District are mixed.Better known as the WASL, students in fourth, seventh, and 10th grades took the test last spring and the results varied.Students at all three junior high schools had some of the lowest scores and the elementary schools showed a polar effect.Elementary schools such as Mullenix Ridge, Olalla, and South Colby had relatively high scores, while East Port Orchard, Orchard Heights, and Manchester suffered low scores. Karen Butler, principal at Olalla Elementary, said she is pleased with the hard work put in by the staff and students.Butler credits the teachers' ability to adjust to teaching a newer curriculum than what they may have learned prior to the inception of the WASL test.The teachers are continuing to learn more, and they are willing to learn, Butler said. We also have (supportive) parents who volunteer their time. It's a team effort.Butler said programs implemented by the school have greatly improved the education of the children.We have a tutoring program, where parents come in two to five times a week to do a one-on-one with kids who need help, she said.The biggest challenge for all schools has been math.While Olalla saw 46 percent (second-highest in the district) of its students pass the math standards, Butler said people need to give the new math curriculum time before the results can be analyzed.We're really teaching kids to think more about math, she said. They're starting to understand math in an abstract way and we're working on it every day.Butler said it's important to make the test fun for the children and not put so much emphasis on last year's scores, whether good or bad.We need to know that last year they did the best they could do on that day, Butler said. It's important we show the kids support. We give them snacks, presents and cards to show that we support them.On the other end of the spectrum, second-year principal Kristi Smith is working hard with her staff to continue to show progress with the WASL scores.EPO scored the lowest in writing, passing only 18 percent, but the reading scores are up 15 percent from four years ago to 55 percent.Looking at the trends we made a huge jump in reading, Smith said. The writing score is a concern for us.As for the reasons for the contrasting scores in various elementary schools, Smith said there is a direct correlation between the percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunches.Smith said because 40 percent of her students fall under that category, EPO has qualified for a title program, which offers outside government resources.Smith said EPO will be bringing back after-school education programs after failed school levies chased away the programs.We're bringing back family learning nights, Smith said. Parents and students can focus on reading particularly. It's about bringing families on board.State School Superintendent Terry Bergeson said she is seeing a trend in schools that need to be fixed.Students of color, students with special needs, and students who are learning English as a second language are not making the type of progress we want to see, Bergeson said. We will need to see deep, meaningful, and systematic change in our educational system if we want to erase the achievement gap.Here is a breakdown of the WASL results from each school in the South Kitsap School District:*Burley Glenwood--All marks are down from last year's scores. After scoring a 13.6 in 1998, Burley Glenwood has improved to 35 percent the last two years, but that means nearly two-thirds are not meeting the standards. Reading is down nearly nine percent from last year and scored the lowest reading mark with 47.8 percent.. In 1999 and 2000 close to 60 percent of the students passed. Now, not even half the students are meeting the requirements. Writing is down nine percent to 27.7 percent from last year's school-best 38.6 percent. Listening scores earned the best marks at 64.8 percent but it still falls below the state average of 65.3 percent.*East Port Orchard--EPO scored the lowest marks in the school district in math (25 percent) and writing (18.8 percent). That's a glaring statistic when one sees that three-fourths are not passing math and four-fifths are failing to pass in writing. At the same time, EPO scored the third-best in listening (82.8 percent). Since 1998 the reading scores have improved 15 percent to 55 percent this year, though it is 2 percent lower than last year's score.*Hidden Creek--Hidden Creek has made one of the biggest improvements since its first scores were published in 1997. After scoring an abysmal 12.2 percent in math in 1997, Hidden Creek has moved up to 41.7 percent, which is nearly 17 percent better than last year's score (24.4 percent). After fluxuating from 51.1 percent to a then-high of 64 percent in 1999, the reading percentage soared to 71.9 percent this year, which is 20.4 percent better than last year. It's hard to gauge the improvement in writing. It reached an all-time high in 1997 with 51.1 percent but scored a 37.5 percent this year, though it is 10 percent higher than last year (27.3 percent). *Manchester--No pattern can be traced with Manchester. After climbing every year in math from 14.1 percent in 1997 to 46.8 percent last year, the score plummeted to 28.1 percent this year. Reading scores have been steady the last five years. Though it dropped from 55.3 to 47.6 in 1998, scores are at nearly 60 percent the last two years. Manchester has not passed more than 45 percent of its fourth-graders and it hit an all-time low of 28.1 this year, 16 percent down from last year's school-best 44 percent. While listening scores have been high in the district, Manchester scored a district-worst 58.1 percent.*Mullenix Ridge--Overall Mullenix Ridge has made steady improvement in most subjects and scored a district-best in reading and listening. After a 33.7 percent in 1998 it passed 53.7 percent of its students this year, four percent better than last year. Mullenix can brag about its district-best reading score of 82.9 percent--17 percent higher than the state average. It is a four percent increase from last year's score of 79 percent, which was a district-best last year. After passing only 38.5 percent in writing last year, Mullenix bounced back to pass 57.3 percent--18 percent higher than the state average. It's nothing close to the nearly 70 percent it passed two years ago though. Mullenix earned the best mark in listening, passing nearly 88 percent of its students. It is 23 percent higher than the state average.*Olalla--Olalla nearly mirrors Mullenix Ridge in the reading and listening subjects and made big improvements in all four subjects. It scored a 78.3 percent in reading, which is 22 percent higher than last year's score. In listening, 87 percent of the students met the requirements. That's eight percent higher than last year's score. Though less than half of the students (46.4) passed in math, it is a 21 percent increase from last year (25.6). The math score is five percent higher than the state average. Nearly 50 percent (49.3) met the writing requirements, 10 percent higher than the state average.*Orchard Heights--Math has fluxuated here. It went from 12 percent in 1997 to a school-best 37.2 percent in 1999, but scores have dipped the last two years to 25.2 percent--the second-lowest in the district this year. The only subject Orchard Heights scored above the state average was in listening (67.8 percent). It scored a 55.8 percent in reading and a 30.1 percent in writing, which is the third-worst mark in the district.*Sidney Glenn--Sidney Glenn scored above the state average in three of the four subjects. After scoring a 12 percent in 1997, 46.1 percent passed this year. In reading, 65 percent of the students passed (.8 percent below state average). Almost 43 percent of the students passed the writing portion of the test, which is three percent above the state average. The school had a strong score of 74.8 in listening, which is almost 10 percent above the state average.*South Colby--South Colby is one of only two schools in the district to have half of its students pass the math (50.7 percent)--nine percent above the state average. Reading and listening was fourth-best in the district at 71 percent and 82 percent respectively, and the writing (55.1 percent) was the second-best in the district.*Sunnyslope--Nearly 70 percent of students failed to pass the math (28.9 percent)--12 percent lower than last year's score of 40.3 percent. Reading dropped six percent from last year to 66.7 percent, but writing improved 12 percent to 46.7 percent--seven percent higher than the state average. The listening score of 75.8 percent was solid--10 percent higher than the state average.JUNIOR HIGH*John Sedgwick--John Sedgwick had the best marks over Marcus Whitman and Cedar Heights. But none of the marks are anything to brag about. Sedgwick scored a 24.9 in math, 41.7 in reading, 46.2 in writing, and 83.8 percent.*Cedar Heights--Nearly 80 percent of students failed to pass the math standard (19.9). Only 33.9 percent passed the reading, 32.2 percent met the requirements in writing, and 78.4 percent passed the listening.*Marcus Whitman--Marcus Whitman had only 19.3 percent of its students pass in math, 34.8 percent passed in reading, 38 percent in writing, and 79.7 percent in listening.HIGH SCHOOL*South Kitsap High School was compared to other Kitsap County high schools. Only Bremerton earned lower marks than SK.In reading CK and NK passed more than 70 percent. SK followed with 58 percent, and Bremerton 47 percent. In math NK and CK scored a 46 and 45 while SK scored a 37 and Bremerton 31. In writing SK was second in the county with 49 percent. NK passed 50 percent, CK 45 percent, and Bremerton 30 percent. In listening all scores were high. NK scored a 90 percent, followed by CK at 86 percent, SK at 85 percent, and Bremerton 81 percent. "