Holley students make gains on state assessment tests

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 24 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – Holley Central School Jr./Sr. High School Principal Susan Cory, left, and Elementary Principal Karri Schiavone discuss School Improvement Reports with the Board of Education on Monday.

HOLLEY – Students at the Holley Central School District in Grades 3-8 are making gains in math, but continue to struggle on ELA (English/Language Arts) State Assessment tests, Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School principals reported to Board of Education this week.

Elementary Principal Karri Schiavone and Jr./Sr. High School Principal Susan Cory presented School Improvement Reports to the Board, which included results from 2015 assessment testing.

The highlight of the report was the Third Grade Math scores with 64.3 percent of students who took the test passing.

On the down-side of the math assessment, only 14.3 percent of seventh-graders who took the test at Holley passed. On the ELA test, fourth-graders did the best with 35.4 percent of those taking the test passing. Only 15.2 percent of fifth-graders and 14.9 percent of seventh-graders passed the ELA assessment.

“It’s not where we want to be,” Schiavone said of the Fifth Grade ELA results.

Both principals were optimistic, however, and emphasized that overall, Holley is improving on the Math/ELA Common Core Assessment tests.

“The percentage of students passing the math is growing so much faster that the ELA,” Schiavone said. “We have to look at what we are doing and math and apply to the ELA.”

Cory noted that the overall improvement is showing that instruction is working and students are “coming to us (at the Jr./Sr. High School) very well prepared.”

Cory and Schiavone also reported on Teacher/Principal ratings which are drawn from several components including student performance and State testing scores.

In the Holley Central School District, 100 percent of the principals were rated as “effective.” Of teachers, 67 percent were rated as “highly effective” and 33 percent were rated as effective. The rankings for support staff – which includes teacher assistants, library media specialists and counselors – were 100 percent rated at highly effective.

“Our teachers are working hard,” Schiavone said. “They are very effective, concerned teachers. We are not spinning our wheels anymore. We’ve got to keep the momentum going, stay the path and keep plugging along.”

Cory said the district has a reason to celebrate the improvement, however gradual, and explained that it “will take us some time” to bring scores up higher.

“We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Board member John Heise said.

This year the Holley Central School District is working to implement a school improvement plan that centers on continuous improvement of student test scores on all tests, not just assessments. School Improvement Teams are being formed in both buildings which will review improvement plans. The teams include teachers, parents, school administrators, support staff and a member of the Board of Education.

Also at Monday’s meeting, siblings Donovan Ross and Marli Woods were presented with the “Soaring to New Heights” Award. On Sept. 6, Donovan called 911 when their 38-year old mother began to show symptoms of a stroke.

Ambulance crew members and hospital officials said Donovan and Marli’s quick response and their help in providing important information was crucial in getting their mother help as quickly as possible. She remains hospitalized and Donovan and Marli are staying with their grandparents.

“You two are very strong … you are just astounding,” Board of Education member Robin Silvis said. “You have a community that loves you.”