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KSD Elementary School Report

Kennewick School District Elementary School Report to the Community

Friday, October 29, 2010 at the ESD 123 office building in Pasco from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Attendees:         15 Kennewick citizens

Presenters and KSD representatives:     14 elementary school principals, 5 district administrators, 1 district communications director, 3 school board members and 1 union president

Purpose:            To engage the community, share data and receive citizen recommendations

The presentation was opened by KSD Superintendent Dave Bond with additional information provided by Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Greg Fancher and the principals of the 14 elementary schools. 

Information I took away from this presentation:

  • The core mission of Kennewick elementary schools is teaching reading
  • 90 minutes to 2 hours of daily reading instruction is typical with additional time for some students
  • Another 50 minutes daily is dedicated to developing writing skills
  • Reading scores earned by 3rd grade drop off during 4th and 5th grade
  • KSD curriculum is test driven by the WASL, MSP, HSPE and MAP
  • State assessments are moving targets and district scores fluctuate significantly frustrating efforts to use state scores meaningfully to inform instruction
  • Poverty impacts are significant and growing in Kennewick with attendant effects on teaching and learning
  • Changing community demographics also impact Kennewick schools
  • KSD must focus on factors it can control like quality of instruction, quality of curriculum, quality of assessment and use of class time
  • Math instruction is 60 minutes each day, science and social studies split 30 minutes per day and music, PE and library share 30 daily minutes.  Recess is 15 minutes per day.  These values may not apply exactly to all schools.
  • Established in 1996, the reading program has been the district’s long term focus
  • Reading is perceived as the gateway for student success in math and other subjects
  • KSD needs help from families for all students to be successful in school and is seeking ways to improve parent partnerships

Kennewick School District has just grown to over 16,000 students with 7300 in the 14 elementary schools.  60.3% of Kennewick students are white and 30.2% are Hispanic.  49.6% of district students receive free or reduced cost lunches.  According to consultant Jim Lewis and Associates the level of student poverty correlates with student pass rates on standardized tests.  A one point increase in free and reduced lunches translates to a ½ point drop in scores for all subjects.  There has been an increase in free and reduced lunches district wide from 38.6% in 2004/05 to 49.6% in 2010/11.

KSD is a major employer with over 1000 teachers and 1000 classified staff.  The district operating budget is approximately $144 million.

KSD tests Kindergarten students in reading readiness and math when entering school and again at the end of the Kindergarten year.  First and second grade students take the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment).  DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is taken by elementary students several times a year.  MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) is taken in September and May by all students and in January by selected students.  Washington State tests students in the spring using the MSP (Measurements of Student Progress) which replaces the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning). 

Fancher stated the district is trying to include content area instruction in the reading program.  The text, Imagine It! does allow some science and social studies instruction.  It was noted that while content instruction offers opportunities for students to practice reading it is not suitable for teaching reading.  The challenge for Bilingual and Dual Language instruction is to enable students to make more than one year’s growth in reading.   

Five of the 14 elementary schools have full day kindergarten.  These students do better in school after kindergarten.  The cost to convert the other elementary schools to full day kindergarten is beyond the district budget at this time. 

Overall district mobility from 3rd to 10th grade is 44%.  That is 44% of 3rd graders are still in Kennewick schools in the 10th grade.

For the purpose of this presentation KSD sorted the elementary schools into one of three groups based on student poverty levels or affluence of families of students within the school.  Group 1 schools are Amistad, Eastgate, Edison and Westgate.  These schools have higher numbers of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students.  In 1995/96 there were 388 LEP students in the district and in the current year there are 967 LEP students.  Up to 82% of the students in these schools enter Kindergarten unprepared to learn reading or math.

Group 2 schools include Canyon View, Hawthorne, Sunset View, Vista and Washington.  These schools are above the district average in serving free and reduced lunches.  Numbers of LEP students are increasing but there is no program to serve them.  Possible methods to provide service to LEP students would be to bus them to schools with programs or to train staff now in the buildings to serve them.

Group 3 schools are Cottonwood, Cascade, Lincoln, Ridge View and Southgate.  These schools have more stable student populations, lower numbers of students in the free and reduced lunch program and few ESL and ELL students.

In turn, each principal described the characteristics of his or her school.  Some particulars for each elementary are detailed below.

Concluding the presentations, Fancher spoke passionately about his conviction and commitment to the district 3rd grade reading goal which has endured through 3 superintendents.  The power of the goal is that it has not gone away.  Pushing students to make 1 ½ years reading growth during one school year is essential to having them catch up.   

At the end of the program participants completed a questionnaire making recommendations to KSD.

School information summaries:

Group 1 -

For these reports school mobility refers to the percent of student turnover during the school year.  ESL is English as a Second Language and ELL is English Language Learners.  Title 1 is a federal program providing funds to schools which Kennewick uses to hire more staff like paraeducators.

 Westgate Elementary – Principal Dale Kern                         445 students     

90% free and reduced lunch     47% ELL                25% mobility      Receives Title 1 funding

Students at Westgate speak 17 different foreign languages.  Last year 85% of 3rd graders made

1 ½ years growth in reading.  This serves to advance the district goal of helping students catch up with their peers reading at grade level.                                                       

In math 3rd graders are ability grouped into 5 groups to better customize instruction for each student.

Title 1 funds pay to hire more staff.

Eastgate Elementary – Principal Niki Arnold-Smith             493 students    

96% free/reduced lunch       48% ELL                about 20% mobility        

Reading is taught 90 minutes daily K-5.  Bilingual in K, 1 and 2.  Full day Kindergarten.  Some students have an extended day.  Summer school for transitional Spanish speakers going into 3rd grade English cklasses.  Reading curriculum is Imagine It! and Reading Mastery (very scripted, directed and targeted)as alternate core.  Also, Corrective Reading for 4th and 5th graders at least 2 years behind.   Read Naturally is used on computers to build fluency.     

Edison Elementary – Principal Bruce Cannard                     524 students     

75% free/reduced lunch      30% ELL               

This school offers Dual Language classes K-5 using a 50:50 model.  Action Team for Partnerships (ATP) linked to student achievement in math and reading and helping students develop positive attitudes toward education.   Family Math Night has 65% of students participating.

Amistad Elementary – Principal Andy Woehler                  576 students     

97% free/reduced lunch       59% ELL                about 20% mobility         Receives Title 1 funding

Reading is taught 90 minutes daily K-5.  Bilingual K, 1 and 2.  Full day Kindergarten.  Some students have an extended day.  Summer school is offered.  Response to Intervention (RTI) offers the possibility for students to make more than one years’ growth in reading.  Imagine It! provides limited science and social studies instruction.  ELL students transition to English reading in the 3rd grade using Scholastic Transitions.  Math and science are taught in English K-5.  Reading Mastery is alternative core.       

Group 2 -

Washington Elementary – Principal Rob Phillips                 481 students     

67% free/reduced lunch       11% ELL                about 12% mobility

Class size ranges from 22 to 30 students.  Has an Intermediate Life Skills classroom.  Also has a 4th and 5th grade Developmental Therapy classroom.  Reading in grades 1, 2 and 3 is 2 hours daily.  Reading intervention, K-4, provides additional time for students needing more reading instruction and preparation for the state assessment. 

Hawthorne Elementary – Principal Craig Miller                   480 students     

76% free/reduced lunch       24% ELL                about 18% mobility

Class size ranges from 27 to 31 students.  There is one Dual Language class and ECEAP is new this year. 

RTI started here in 2008.  The staff cannot work harder so work smarter using DIBELS to monitor reading progress. 

Vista Elementary – Principal Matt Scott                                 430 students     

65% free/reduced lunch       7% ESL/ELL          about 25% mobility        

Class size ranges from 19 to 29 students.  There are primary and intermediate Life Skills classrooms and an ECEAP classroom.  Imagine It!, Reading Mastery (K-3)and Corrective Reading(4 & 5) are used.   Supplemental reading materials include Language for Learning (K-1) and Phonics for Reading (2-5).  Math Connects is used (K-5) as well as Step Up to Writing (K-5).

Canyon View Elementary – Principal Mark Stevens          480 students     

55% free/reduced lunch       45% ESL/ELL        about 17% mobility

Class size ranges from 23 to 30 students.  There is a Life Skills class and a primary Developmental Therapy class.  Use RTI and Reading Mastery to teach reading.  Have hired 4 paraeducators to work with small groups of low level readers. 

Sunset View Elementary – Principal Tony Langdon           504 students     

36% free/reduced lunch        9% ESL/ELL          about 7% mobility

Class size ranges from 23 to 32 students.  There is a K-2 Life Skills class.  Imagine It! is not used at this time but is under consideration.  Harcourt Trophies is current reading program.  RTI will be adopted.  There is a building Site Council called the Leadership Team.  Four days each week there is a 30 minute reading intervention using Harcourt Interventions, Phonics Boost and Read Naturally.

 Group 3 –

 Cascade Elementary – Principal Chad Foltz                           560 students     

40% free/reduced lunch      17 students ESL/ELL        about 11% mobility

Grades 1 to 5 use Step Up to Writing which is a formulaic program to teach writing in preparation for the state test.  Step Up to Writing is characterized as excellent for improving writing skills.  

Cottonwood Elementary – Principal Mary Ann Kautzky  526 students     

11% free/reduced lunch        21 students ESL/ELL       

Use RTI and Imagine It!  SRA Leveled Readers provide additional science and social studies skills content and practice.  Accelerated Reader reading machines are used for 30 minutes.

Southgate Elementary – Principal Vickiy VanBeek             523 students     

31% free/reduced lunch       21 students ESL/ELL        about 10% mobility

Students are attending classes at the Fruitland building while Southgate is being remodeled. 

Math Connects is the district adopted math program used in all KSD elementary schools.  The program is among those recommended by the state and is the second year of implementation in KSD.  Math Connects recommends literature which aligns with the math lessons.   Kennewick teachers have developed a pacing calendar for the school year which includes ongoing assessments.

Ridge View Elementary – Principal Lori Butler                     567 students     

31% free/reduced lunch       38 ESL/ELL students        about 5% mobility

80% of students enter Kindergarten ready to learn.  Two hours daily is dedicated to reading instruction.  Math instruction uses RTI, Math Connects, SRA Connecting Math Concepts and Accelerated Math.

Butler stated that 2 hours of reading instruction is necessary so all students including high performing students continue to grow.

Lincoln Elementary – Principal Ron Campbell                      539 students     

45% free/reduced lunch        38 ESL/ELL students        about 9% mobility

Not a Title 1 school so receives no federal funds.  Parent volunteers read with the students.  KSD participates in the SE Washington LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform) Alliance.  KSD uses science kits for science instruction.  950 kits will be distributed K-5 this school year. 

Lincoln created a 5th grade curriculum integration project last spring including science, reading, writing, math and social studies using CBA (Classroom Based Assessment).  An outcome of Lincoln’s work is that WASL science scores have increased 38 points.