ILWACO - Taking up the greatest portion of last week's meeting of the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors was OSPI facilitator Mary Schrouder who gave a presentation on the district's School Improvement Action Plan.

Schrouder touched on three items that made up 46 pages of documents given to the board, as well as a future item that may go to further the success of the program.

"It's wonderful to be here again; it's been awhile," said Schrouder, who hadn't spoken to the board on this level since last spring.

Schrouder started with the action plan itself, which has been in place for the last three years.

"This is the action plan at its most complete form," she said of packet of documents that included all the subcommittee notes from the last two years.

In regards to the state-mandated WASL tests, Schrouder showed the original and newly revised goals in both reading and math for seventh grade students. The original goal for reading was to increase the percentage of students meeting the standard on the WASL from 21.5 percent to 41.17 percent by 2004. The newly revised goal calls for an increase from 37.6 percent in 2003 to 43.4 by 2004, in order to satisfy annual yearly progress [AYP] - a requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act.

There is a similar revision in math score goals, originally trying to raise the percentage of those meeting the standard from 19.6 percent to 39.7 percent by 2004, to an increase of 26.6 percent to 33.5 percent by 2004 to satisfy AYP.

The next item presented was a packet titled "WASL Content Area Support" which was to be distributed to teachers Tuesday morning. Inside is information for the teachers to absorb and then use to help better prepare their students for WASL testing. The packet was broken down into the four WASL categories: reading, writing, math, and the newest area, science.

The packet covers such things as what types of questions will be asked in the certain areas and how many points they are worth. For example, math features four types of questions; multiple choice, multiple choice with response, short answer (all worth two points each) and extended response (worth four points each).

The packet goes over strengths and challenges for the three grades taking the test annually (fourth-, seventh- and tenth-grade). For example, one challenge that faces many fourth-graders is the ability to organize mathematical information to be used to either find a solution to a problem or to describe specific mathematical details. It also gives strategies for students to better understand the questions on the reading portion and better ways to answer questions in the writing portion.

The last item she presented to the board was "something I thought you might enjoy or appreciate," she said - a packet that included a glossary of terms used regularly in the action plan, like AYP, as well as how to calculate drop out or cohort graduation rates, as defined by the OSPI.

"This is very valuable," she said. "You may think you know a reasonable definition of AYP ... but here it is for you."

The packet also included "Compare My School" breakdowns from the OSPI Web site that compares the OBSD WASL scores with that of other schools with similar profiles.

Schrouder also told of some upcoming items, including an evaluation in the next couple of months. She said it would be different than the audit they had a few years ago. The evaluation will be of all schools that received school improvement funding in the first year of the program and how they are doing now, which would include Ilwaco Jr/Sr High School.

The final item that Schrouder addressed is an exciting one for the OBSD - the possibility of continuing school improvement funding at IHS for a fourth year.

"There may even be a year five," hinted Schrouder.

Originally, the plan was for the funding to last for three years, but it was found that the changes could not be fully realized on that short of time frame and there are indications that those year one schools have been afforded an extra year.

OSPI will basically ask those schools who entered the program in its first year (including IHS) how much money they want from for school improvement for the fourth year, but they will have to have specific things they want to do with specific dollar amounts.

"We anticipate requests between $10,000 and $20,000," said Schrouder. "I don't think that you'll get more than that."

Because of extending the funding of the year one schools, that means there will be fewer schools entering the program in this its fourth year. Hilltop School entered the program last year.

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