September 16, 2019
Reading Inventory (RI):
Students have taken the first RI assessment of the year. RI stands for Reading Inventory, and it assesses a student’s reading ability and comprehension. RI is used throughout the country and is considered valid for determining a student’s Lexile score. Students take the test three times during the year, so the next ones will occur in December and March. The result of the RI is that each student is given a Lexile score. The Lexile score is an important number because it correlates to books students read. Students should be reading books that fall within their Lexile range (100 points below their score up to 100 points above their score) to help them improve their reading. The RI sorts students into one of four categories based on their Lexile score: Advanced Proficient (students reading above grade level), Proficient (students reading at grade level), Strategic at Risk (students reading below grade level), and Intensive at Risk (students reading well below grade level). The Lexile score range for being on grade level is as follows:
There are two ways we track RI data throughout the school year. The first is based on proficiency. We want to have as many students as possible at and above grade level in their reading. The second is growth. We want to see students improving their reading abilities throughout the year. Growth is good for all students. Obviously, we want to move a student who begins the year in the Intensive at Risk category into the Proficient category, but students who are Advanced Proficient can also improve and increase their Lexile score during the school year. The number one thing that can be done to improve a student’s reading ability is to read. We suggest having students read at home at least 30 minutes a day, including weekends. We are including DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time during Advisory class to provide some additional reading opportunity at school. We also rely on our school library to help promote reading. The library is currently working on labeling its books with a color-coded system that correlates with Lexile levels so students can have that information at their disposal as they make decisions about which books to read. As students select books to read, it is important for them to make sure they are selecting ones that are appropriate for their Lexile level. Students who consistently read books below their reading abilities will have a harder time improving their reading abilities. This often leads to questions about students reading what they enjoy versus reading things that challenge them and improve their reading ability. Above all, we want to have students reading. We would suggest alternating between having them read something they want for enjoyment and then having them challenge themselves with a harder book. The challenge book can still come from a genre they like, and Ms. Moody would be happy to help them find new books to explore.
This also seems like an opportune time to review last year’s RI results for our school. We’ll start with looking at proficiency. Last year, Olympus Jr.’s students fell into the following categories at the end of the year (after the 3rd RI assessment):
|Advanced||Proficient||Strategic at Risk||Intensive at Risk|
Overall, we had 73% of our students proficient and above and the other 27% of our students were below proficient.
Data usually makes more sense when we can look at comparisons so we can get a better gauge of what it’s telling us. For proficiency, Olympus Jr. ranked third in the district. The top five schools were:
|School||Proficient and Above %|
Over the course of last school year, we moved a total of 62 students from below proficient to proficient. After the first RI last September, 33% of the students in the school were below proficient, but by the end of the year test in March that percent had been reduced to 27%.
As mentioned above, the other way we track RI is through growth. Olympus Jr. did not fair as well in RI growth last year. After the first RI in September, Olympus Jr. had the highest average Lexile score in the district at 1078. By the end of the year test in March, the school had dropped to 3rd in average Lexile score (1124). This gave Olympus Jr. and average growth of 46 points for the year. This ranked #15 of 15 junior highs in the district. In fact, the gap between school #14 and Olympus Jr. was nine points (54 to 46), so our growth was off compared to the district. Some would argue that our already high average Lexile score would leave less room for growth, but that isn’t the case with the way Lexile and growth works. To exemplify this, let’s look at the schools with the highest average Lexile scores (they will be sorted by highest growth).
|School||First Test Ave.||Last Test Ave.||Growth|
In our district, we also acknowledge that there are multiple grade configurations within the junior highs. We have 7-9th grade schools, 7-8th grade schools, and 6-8th grade schools. It is helpful, then, to also look at how we compare to our similarly configured schools.
|School||Proficient and Above %||Average Growth Points|
What does all of this mean for this year? It means that we have good readers in our school, but we can do a better job of pushing them to become better readers. I will be working with the teachers on ideas and things we can do to accomplish this. I will also make sure to provide communication and ideas to our school community. I mentioned the library initiatives we are already working on, but I’m also hopeful that many of you have noticed the book reviews we are posting on our Facebook page. We will have a book review every other week or so to help show what types of books are available in the library. In the meantime, make sure your student(s) are reading at home, and talk to your kids about what they are reading. Ask them questions about the story/plot, characters, and whether they like the book or not.
I am now managing the school’s Facebook page. It will be a great source of information about the school and our events. I will also post pictures and videos of things happening at the school, so I recommend everyone follow us on Facebook. To get to our official page, go to the school’s website, https://schools.graniteschools.org/olympusjr/, and click on the Facebook icon. From there, you can click to follow us.
Fee Waiver/Free and Reduced Lunch:
If you would like to apply for fee waiver or free and reduced lunch, please remember that they are two separate systems and applications. Fee waivers are handled with me, so you can fill out the paperwork completely and bring it to the main office with your taxes from this past year. If your family qualifies for government assistance, a copy of your most recent benefits definition page will suffice for fee waiver approval. Fee waivers need to be completed at each school where you have children; one application does not cover all your children. Finally, fee waiver applications are due 30 days after the first day of school, so please don’t wait to apply. The deadline for application will be September 17, 2019.
Free and reduced lunch applications are not handled by the school. You can pick up a paper application in the school office, fill it out, and turn it in to the lunchroom. However, the quickest way to apply for free and reduced lunch is to go to www.MYSCHOOLAPPS.com and fill out the application there. Free and reduced lunch applications can be turned in for an entire family of kids at one time, so you will not need to fill it out at each individual school.
It’s time to check your student’s account to see class fees that have been charged for elective classes.
Conferences are next week, September 24 and 25, from 4pm-7pm. This is a great opportunity to visit with your student’s teachers and find out how they are doing in their classes. This year may be even more important as we are implementing PBG and you may have questions for the teachers about how the process is being implemented in their classes. PBG also means that many classes don’t have a lot of assessments in Gradebook yet, and when we remember that it takes three assessments on a standard before a PBG score is generated, your student may not have many “grades” in Gradebook yet. This makes it important to see the teachers and find out about your student’s progress.
We will also be having Boo to the Flu both nights of conferences. You can bring your insurance card and get your shots at no cost, or they will be available for a minimal fee.
Picture Make-up Day:
Picture make-ups are September 24. If you didn’t get your picture taken earlier in the year, or didn’t like how they turned out, you can have them redone on September 24. Picture order forms are available in the office if you would like to purchase a picture packet. Pictures can also be ordered on-line at bellphoto.com.
Sept. 16 Junior High Day of Dance Fieldtrip, Dance Co.
Sept. 18 Cross Country @ Jefferson
Sept. 23 Soccer vs. Bennion (girls home/boys away)
Sept. 24 Picture Make-up Day
Sept. 24-25 Parent-Teacher Conferences (4-7pm)
Sept. 24-25 Boo to the Flu (4-7pm)
Sept. 27 No School
Sept. 30 Soccer vs. Evergreen (girls away)
Oct. 1 Cross Country Meet East Divisional
Oct. 7 Soccer vs. Kennedy (girls home/boys away)
Oct. 8 Cross Country District Championship
Oct. 8 7th Grade Vision Screening
Oct. 8 PTSA Meeting
Oct. 9 Soccer vs. Eisenhower (boys home/girls away)
Oct. 9 Choir and Dance Fall Concert
Oct. 15 Reflections submissions due
Oct. 15 Soccer Championship and 3rd/4th place games