Upsala School District makes AYP in all areas though concerns still loom

By EMILIE THIESSEN
Staff Writer
emilie.thiessen@ecm-inc.com

Upsala School District Dean of Students Vern Capelle was happy to announce  that Upsala had made “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) in all areas for the second year in a row,

He quickly added, however, that he still has concerns about math proficiency in the district as a whole and reading proficiency in the lower grades.

Capelle said the high school was above target in both reading and math. The elementary was above target in math and above target with a three-year average adjustment in reading. As a whole, the district was above target in math and above target with a three-year average in reading.

Capelle said he was happy with the results, but stressed that these scores alone do not reflect the success of the district.

“Even though we made AYP in math and all other areas were above target, math is still an area of concern for us,” he said.

According to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) administered during fiscal year 2011, the Upsala School District as a whole scored below the state average in math. The state average for math proficiency was about 49 percent of students, while Upsala lagged behind with only about 35 percent of students proficient in math.

Capelle said he has particular concerns for the younger students who continue to score below average in reading on the MCA.

The third-grade test results showed that only 63 percent were proficient in reading, while the state average showed about 79 percent proficiency. In math, the results indicated that only 55 percent of students were proficient, 15 percent below the state average.

“I do have a very large concern for scores that are showing up in the third-, fourth- and fifth- grade levels,” Capelle said. “That might be an indication of our need for an updated curriculum in kindergarten through third grade.”

Capelle said he hopes the school can facilitate smaller class sizes for the younger students in the coming years, something he believes will significantly impact reading scores. And although math scores remain a concern for Capelle, reading will continue to be at the forefront of his efforts.

“Reading is such a large factor — it transcends to everything we do,” he said.

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