Monday, February 18, 2002

Monroe schools see improvement in student proficiency-test scores

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — Curriculum changes put in place by Monroe educators since the district's split from Middletown nearly two years ago have improved proficiency test scores, school officials say.

        Data from the 2002 Ohio Report Card show Monroe students attained 19 of the 27 standards, based largely on proficiency test results from the 2000-01 school year.

        That score nearly doubles the previous year's score of 10 on the 2001 Report Card.

        School officials thought once the separation from Middletown was completed, data would show Monroe students performed better than scores for the combined district.

        It didn't.

        “With Middletown we got the 10, but when we pulled out just our (students') data, we found we only met nine standards,” Superintendent Arnol Elam said.

        Those disappointing results prompted school officials to accelerate changes to better align Monroe's curriculum with state models.

        A revamped math curriculum for grades K-12 was launched in August. Intervention classes were developed for junior and senior high students. After-school tutoring programs — with transportation provided — were begun at Monroe Elementary.

        Monroe Elementary Principal Patti Shull and Lemon-Monroe Junior-Senior High School Principal Rob Amodio began pouring over data to determine where the weaknesses were and then developed programs to address them.

        “We increased in 21 of the 25 proficiency areas,” Mr. Elam said.

        The other two standards included on state report cards are graduation rates and attendance. Changes begun last year were expanded this year.

        Monroe Elementary School added staff to this year's after-school program that helps students prepare for the March proficiency tests. A four-week summer school for math and language arts will continue meeting this summer five days a week, four hours a day.

        And teachers are using a similar format for classroom tests as those students will face on proficiency tests, Mrs. Shull said,

        Besides enrollment in semester-long intervention classes, high school students may enroll in after-school tutoring sessions and are excused from athletic practices or other activities, said Principal Rob Amodio, who resigned this month to take a job with Fairfield Schools.


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