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Elementary test scores on the rise at WACS

February 22, 2017
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

State standardized scores for elementary students at Westfield Academy and Central School have risen considerably in all levels, board of education members learned at a recent board meeting.

WACS elementary principal Dr. Mary Rockey told the board that student scores have risen 17% in math compared to this time last year, while scores in ELA have increased by 11% since that time.

"For the first time the trend is going in the right direction in both ELA and math," Rockey said.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
WACS Spanish teacher Monica Knoll speaks to the WACS board of education about the district about the proposed trip to Costa Rica.

Rockey said the increase was a result of many factors, including "teacher alignment of curriculum across and between grades, dedicated academic intervention to address individual student weaknesses and of course, our wonderful students and teachers working really hard."

Rockey said the district's core goal is to help students achieve their fullest academic potential. "We will stay this course until every single student attains this potential," she said.

In other matters, Westfield business and computer instructor Mary Jo Dix gave the board a presentation on the Scribbler robot program. She said the pilot program started about a month and a half ago with 7th grade students.

She explained that with the Scribbler robot, students learn how to code using computer language. "I feel it's very beneficial and it is an enrichment program for them," Dix said.

The Scribbler is part of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art math) robotics platform, Dix said. She described the Scribbler as a small, low-cost, fully programmable intelligent robot with multiple sensor systems. It is capable of auto navigation and interaction with its environment she said.

Dix told board members that students learned how to use programming language to program the Scribbler. "We had two robots for fifteen kids. It was a good learning experience and it turned out to be very successful," she said.

The board also heard from Westfield Spanish teacher Monica Knoll who spoke about the proposed Spanish Club 2017 trip to Costa Rica, and asked for their approval for the venture. The trip will take place from April 6 through April 16.

Knoll, who conducted the Spanish Club 10-day trip to Costa Rica in 2015, told the board that this time everything the students experience will be in Spanish. She said that in addition to being immersed in the Spanish language and culture, pupils will learn about ecotourism and biodiversity.

Participants in the trip will land at San Jose airport and will visit Arenal, Guanacaste, Tortuguero, and the Sarapiqui region during their 11-day visit to Costa Rica, Knoll said. She noted that the Sarapiqui region is a major agricultural sector of the country. "They will visit a coffee farm and a chocolate farm," she added.

Knoll told the board that students can complete some pre and post trip assignments to earn 1/2 high school credit or, with additional work, three college credits may be earned for $125. The cost of the school credit, as well as all meals, hotels, flights, work books, a tour director and activities are included in the cost of the trip she said.

In other business, the board completed the second reading of policies 5630, 5681, and 6220. Policy 5630 deals with inspection, operation, and maintenance of facilities. Policy 5681is about school safety plans and policy 6220 deals with temporary teaching personnel. Board members approved all three revised policies.

WACS Knoll.tif

WACS Murphy.tif

Photo One WACS Spanish teacher Monica Knoll speaks to WACS board of education about the district about the proposed trip to Costa Rica.

Photo Two Julia Murphy is the new business manager for WACS



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