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BEA passes tests

By Staff | Jul 19, 2010

Kevin Grant

Blue Earth Area Elementary Principal Kevin Grant had some good news for the BEA School Board at last Monday night’s monthly meeting.

For the second year in a row, the school district made adequate yearly progress (AYP) on the state’s MCA II tests.

That means the BEA district gets off the state’s ‘needs to improve’ list of schools which are not making adequate yearly progress.

“Two years ago we had one cell of the reading test that we were below the level the state considers adequate,” Grant says. “That was in Special Education. We worked hard to improve in that area, and I am happy to say we are much improved.”

Grant says that once a school gets on the ‘bad’ list, it is very difficult to get off. That is because the state keeps increasing the target level by 4-percent each year.

“I predict there will soon be many more schools that will go on the list of schools not making adequate yearly progress, because the state is continually raising the target.” Grant says. “Eventually the state wants all schools to be at 100 percent on the tests.

Grant had a chart showing how BEA compares to other area schools.

In the reading tests, BEA was at 72.81 percent proficiency on the tests. Maple River was the highest in the area at 82.21 percent, while Granada-Huntley was the lowest at 69.96 percent. USC was at 71.96 percent.

The state average is 72.34 percent.

In math, BEA is at a proficiency level of 66.89 percent. The highest school level was Maple River at 72.71 percent, while USC was lowat 53.31 percent.

The state average was 65.89 percent.

The results of the science testing will be announced at the end of July.

“This is great to hear,” Board Chairman Frankie Bly says. “The fact that we have made adequate yearly progress on the tests for two years in a row, means we have improved significantly.”

Grant says the fact that this goal was accomplished was not just a coincidence, commenting that the staff – and the students – have worked hard to account for the improved scores.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the BEA board:

– Passed two resolutions dealing with this fall’s school board election.

Filing dates are Aug. 3-17.

Four positions will be on the ballot. Those seats are currently held by Terry Cahill, Vickie Hanson, Mary Eckhardt and Jesse Haugh.

– Voted to keep their salaries at the same level as last year. Chairman Bly commented that the board’s compensation has remained the same for at least the past nine years.

Those reimbursements rates are $300 annually for the chair, clerk and treasurer, and $50 per meeting for up to half day meetings, and $70 for a full day meeting.

– Accepted bids for various commodities and services, including snow and waste removal, fuels and softener salt.

There were at least two bids for all of the items.

– Left the student lunch and activity fees and event ticket prices at the same prices as last year.