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Lahaina Intermediate students and teachers stressed by series of tests

By Staff | Sep 15, 2011


LAHAINA — Wow! September is here! It feels as though we just started school.

During the month of August, our new teachers spent three days in TRIBES training. This program is school-wide. It ensures that our entire school community has an open relationship with each other, so that our students can feel safe and comfortable as they learn.

School-wide, the four TRIBES Agreements are: Mutual Respect, No Put-Downs, Right To Pass, and Active Listening. We try to live by these agreements on a daily basis, inside and outside of the classrooms. We have our own site trainer, U’i Kua’ana. Thank you, U’i!

As the school year rolls out, we encourage parents to communicate with their child’s teachers, counselors and administrators. We are here to surround your children with care and support. If you have a concern, e-mail us. Call us. You have updated information on edline.net. If you have misplaced your edline.net user name and password, please do not hesitate to contact Robert (Tom) Norton. He will send you that information immediately. All user names and passwords were sent home with your children during the first week of school.

The 2010 HSA scores were a bit of a disappointment for LIS. Our reading scores plummeted 16 percent! We couldn’t believe our eyes when the results were delivered. Math sustained its recent years’ growth, and we improved by another 2 percentage points.

What caused our reading to fall so much? During the first day teachers returned, we broke up into grade level teams. The English teachers and math teachers shared with their teams what they experienced during the HSA testings last school year. This was the first year the HSA testing was done online. Many of our teachers expressed frustration with the laptops going down during the testing. Sometimes, up to 5-6 computers would go down at the same time, and conversations between students on the down computers and teachers became a disruption for the other students who were taking the the test, thereby causing the testing environment to be compromised. Other teachers mentioned exterior noise during the separate lunch periods caused disruptions to the testing in their classes.

Together as a team, possible solutions were documented, and problem solving conversations have continued in the Leadership Team. We will be changing the way we test students this year. The first assessment will be administered in reading next month in October. We will be “smarter” this time. We are in the midst of creating a school-wide testing schedule that will enhance the testing environment.

Last year, students took the HSA three times each in reading and math. The best score out of the three tries was submitted. Besides the HSA, our students are assessed in STAR-Reading and STAR-Math twice a year. We also have a quarterly assessment required that will be through DSI — this year, a state-created assessment to measure quarterly standards benchmarks. Yes, the stress is on! As the teachers say, they feel as though they are spending more time testing the students than teaching them. Yes, it does feel as though you just completed one test, and then the next one is coming up right around the corner. Just imagine how the students feel… but the beat goes on and on, and on.

Regardless of the many stresses we face, our students appear to be very happy to be back at school. We are committed to bring the best out of them through engaging lessons and positive experiences. We continue to teach them positive life skills and coping skills.

There are a lot of smiling faces around campus — a number of “A-ha!” moments. It is a joy to see this every day, to interact with our students, to laugh with them. After all, that’s why we are here at LIS. IMUA!