June 22, 2018
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Greenville school officials receive results of national testing

By Bill Pearson, Piscataquis Observer

GREENVILLE, Maine — The results from national testing of students in grades 3-9 showed that 59 percent achieved proficiency and improvement in reading, and 50 percent in mathematics, according to a report from Greenville schools Principal Kelly MacFayden to the School Committee last week.

The Northwest Evaluation Association test is administered in fall and spring and is used to help educators improve instruction so that students can increase learning.

Other results from the reading portion of the September test included: 8 percent of students achieved proficiency with no improvement; 11 percent showed improvement without achieving proficiency; and 20 percent showed no improvement and didn’t meet proficiency standards. MacFayden did not elaborate on the rest of the mathematics results.

Administrators speculated the low percentage of students showing improvement or meeting proficiency could be because the testing is done in September immediately after the long summer break, and that the numbers may be affected by some students who are new to the district.

Whatever the reason, Superintendent Beth Lorigan said the results showed the school department needs to do a better job in meeting the needs of low-achieving students.

“We have a lot of work to do with the lower third. We want every kid to become proficient in all subjects,” Lorigan said. “The beauty of the NWEA is that the teacher can review the information by class or individual student for improving the education in the classroom. This will be done to help pull the students up and keep them up.”

In other action, the school committee wants to modernize the district’s “All Hazards Plan,” which covers how the schools would handle a crisis situation. School systems are required to review their plans each year. Committee member Mike Theriault recommended that the plan focus less on fire safety and more on protecting the school from an intruder.

The Greenville schools recently conducted the second of their 10 yearly fire drills. Theriault proposed conducting a drill that addresses evacuating the students if somebody should enter the schools with a gun.

“The last time a student died in a burning school in the U.S. was in 1957. I know having somebody entering the school is a long shot, but there has been some recent occurrences around the country and I think we need to add that to our plan,” Theriault said.

The committee also wants to upgrade the district’s security camera system to allow more access by local and state law enforcement agencies to monitor what happens inside the school. The committee needs to upgrade its current equipment to allow law enforcement officials to see an inside view. Technology Coordinator Kathy Bishop reported that two security cameras didn’t fully function properly and the school’s server was outdated.

Lorigan plans on discussing the “All Hazards Plan” with MacFayden and Greenville Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau for ideas on making the school safer. The school department also will hold a table exercise later in the year to prepare for a potential emergency.

The committee unanimously approved the hiring of Debbie Elliot to teach differentiated mathematics and general chemistry. Lorigan indicated this was a temporary position based on the need of 11 students who had difficulty fitting these courses into their schedules.

The committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, in the Oakes Building.

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