CALLAWAY—Callaway Public Schools are ready to embrace outside assistance in order to improve recent test results. Spring 2018 was the first year students participated in new testing standards called the Nebraska Student Centered Assessment System (NSCAS, pronounced en-skass) which ranks schools as Excellent, Great, Good, or Needs Improvement.
Superintendent Dr. Dawn Lewis told KCNI/KBBN results were mixed for the schools. Callaway High School was ranked Excellent, the middle school ranked Good, and the elementary school ranked at the lowest level of Needs Improvement. The district as a whole ranked Good.
Dr. Lewis said as the district moves forward it will receive “intensive support.” She and Principal Heath Birkel will be meeting with state and federal government representatives in Kearney on February 5 to discuss grant funding and ways to make improvements.
The Nebraska Department of Education NSCAS report breaks down the elementary school proficiency levels with the lowest being Mathematics at 26%, compared to a 51% proficiency level statewide. Students tested 38% proficient in English Language Arts compared to 51% for the state. Callaway elementary students scored highest in Science at 61% but it still falls below the statewide proficiency level which is 68%. (The entire testing profile can be found on the Nebraska Department of Education website.)
Dr. Lewis said it will be a different picture when talking about next year’s testing as she says the district has already taken steps to tackle the “Needs Improvement” ranking by hosting an extra day of professional development, bringing in trainers from ESU 10, and looking closely at student curriculum and standards.
“You know, it’s really a call to action for everybody here, whether the teacher is an elementary teacher, a middle school or a high school teacher it doesn’t matter. We’ve looked at that and we just know that there is more work to be done and that maybe we need to work a little bit smarter, not necessarily harder but we need to use some of the tools that are available to us and some of the data that’s available to us and when we become aware of what that extra support will look like we’ll embrace it whole heartedly and take all of the help that we can get,” Dr. Lewis said.
According to the Callaway Courier, 25 Nebraska schools ranked as Needs Improvement. NSCAS testing will take place again later this spring. Dr. Lewis said regardless of the test scores, she is excited for the future of Callaway students.
“Regardless of what those test scores said, we’re really proud of our kids. We think they work hard. They’re respectful kids; they always represent us well so we’re just really excited for the future of Callaway Public Schools. A test scores is something you can overcome but we are creating great people in our school, great citizens, kids that care about their community so that’s what we’re most proud of,” she said.