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Menahga students showed individual test improvements

Results for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing in Menahga showed progress from last year. Elementary principal Joleen DeLaHunt and high school principal Mary Klamm explained how the tests are given and how the data is used at the...

Results for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing in Menahga showed progress from last year.

Elementary principal Joleen DeLaHunt and high school principal Mary Klamm explained how the tests are given and how the data is used at the Menahga School Board meeting Monday.

This year is the second year the district uses NWEA, which are nationwide tests that schools measure individual students' progress by.

"It gives immediate feedback," DeLaHunt said. Grades 2-6 are given reading and math tests during the fall and the spring. Seventh through 10th-graders take the tests once a year in the fall.

The computerized tests challenge students by increasing the difficulty of the problems as they progress. For example, the more problems a second-grader answers correctly, the higher the level gets. An elementary student can finish the test at a high school level depending on the number of problems he or she answers correctly.

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After seeing data from the tests, teachers can make instructional decisions on how to improve each student's learning skills.

Compared to Adequate Yearly Progress, NWEA is used to measure individual progress versus district progress in comparison with other districts around the state.

"It's only used for our building to make good instructional decisions," DeLaHunt said. "It's another tool for learning how our kids are learning."

In other business, the board:

-Approved working with the Community Concern for Youth Program (CCY) with Todd-Wadena Community Corrections after principal Klamm had ample time to study the program.

Payments for the rest of this year aren't required, but if the board decided to continue sponsoring the program, a $2,106 contribution, which would cover the year 2009, will have to be made in January.

CCY is a program that helps first-time offenders stay out of the court system.

Teens who've had law violations involving shoplifting, tobacco use, vandalism or fights can pay the city back by working community service hours and enrolling in classes and counseling.

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"It gives students a second chance," Klamm, who recommended using the program for 2009, said.

-Approved a Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program with the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. n?Discussed the possibility of taping the school board meetings for public access television.

Board member Jody Bjornson said he thinks it's a way to improve communications of the board and transparency to the public who can't attend the meetings. Public relations or communications students may be the ones responsible for recording the meetings.

-Reviewed two recommendations from Ehlers and Associates for the sale of general obligation alternative facilities bonds that would be used to finance the replacement and improvement of heating ventilation and mechanical systems in district facilities.

The first bond costs $315,000 and the second costs $1,955,000.

-Discussed the idea of changing or clarifying policies in the student policy handbook on a regular basis. Some changes that Klamm and students came up with will be approved at the November meeting.

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