School board hears South Side Elementary update

South Side Elementary School Principal Casey Glusenkamp gives an update on her school to the school board at its meeting Monday night. (Photo by Charlie Benton, DTL)
Daily Times Leader

The West Point Consolidated School District Board of Trustees heard a report on one of the district’s elementary schools at its meeting Monday night.

South Side Elementary School Principal Casey Glusenkamp discussed the school’s progress over the past year and where it currently stood. The school houses the district’s third and fourth graders, and maintained its B rating for another year. This year, the school started the year with 424 students total along with 10 third grade teachers and eight fourth grade teachers.

“That’s the smallest number of fourth graders or any grade group I’ve ever had,” Glusenkamp said.

Glusenkamp said although the school maintained its B rating, she still had some concerns after comparing 2018 and 2019 test data. She said the school lost approximately 15 points from its 2018 accountability score.

“I really want to get that back,” Glusenkamp said. “(Superintendent Burnell McDonald’s) challenged us to do so. We were still a B, and we’re very happy about that, but we did drop. We made some gains in math, but we don’t want to fluctuate. We want to move forward.”

She said the school lost seven points in its reading growth, while its math growth remained relatively static.

“Our math teachers held on,” Glusenkamp said. “Our fourth grade reading teachers know we’ve got some work to do.”

Despite the loss in points, she spoke to a growth in proficiency.

“When you grow proficiency points, it means that you grew kids as well,” Glusenkamp said.

She said the school was increasing its focus on data, with teachers required to attend data meetings discussing progress and plans for the future. The data looks at each specific student, among other factors. The school initially scored 70% passing on the reading gate last year; with 22 students meeting good cause exemptions.

“Each nine weeks I have a data meeting with our third grade and our fourth grade teachers,” Glusenkamp said.

The fourth grade data focuses mostly on math, while the third grade focuses more on literacy in preparation for the reading gate test.

She also said the school was working on some issues with behavior, including an increase in bus referrals and office referrals last year. She said the school saw an increase of 119 discipline referrals.

“A lot of our suspensions really add up, because if they’re not at school they can’t learn,” Glusenkamp said. “Discipline is very important, and we were proud to hold onto our B, but we are focusing not just on academic interventions, but on behavioral interventions as well.”

McDonald also discussed the district’s progress on its accountability results, saying it was now only 14 points away from a B level.

“We’re going to get there,” McDonald said.