Richardton-Taylor students lag in reading, excel in mathRichardton-Taylor Public School District is excelling in math but lagging behind in reading, a recent report shows.
Richardton-Taylor Public School District is excelling in math but lagging behind in reading, a recent report shows.
Disabled students fell short by nearly 15 percent in reading, according to the 2009-10 Comparative District Achievement Report recently released to the public.
In reaction to missing some of the state-set goals, the district took immediate action, Superintendent Brent Bautz said Wednesday.
The teachers are discussing reading strategies throughout the year during Professional Development Days, said junior high and high school English teacher Gae Zentner. “There has been a district focus to emphasize reading comprehension in all classes, not just English.”
The district’s achievement goal for reading was 79.2 percent, Richardton-Taylor came in at 74.8 percent.
That statistic is broken down into students with disabilities, students from low-income families and all others.
The goal for students in the reading category was missed by 3.2 percent and students with disabilities by 14.9 percent.
The goal for students coming from low-income families was exceeded by 1.2 percent.
While reading goals were not met, Richardton-Taylor excelled in math.
Math teacher Laura Messer said she attributes that to the consistent math curriculum the school uses.
“We introduce new concepts and review old, which helps students retain what they have learned,” Messer said. “We also do labs and show the students where and how they will see these problems in real life.”
There has also been an emphasis on reading and writing in math, she said.
“We have written narratives about how to solve problems and we have emphasized math vocabulary and sentence structure in an effort to link our improvement goals together,” Messer said.
The district goal was 67.5 percent for math, but the achievement rate was much higher, at 80.9 percent.
The achievement rate of white students was even higher at 81.6 percent.
Though the achievement rates of students with disabilities and students coming from low income families was lower, they too exceeded the goals by 11.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
Messer said another reason the math scores are higher is because of parent involvement.
“If education is important at home, students work harder,” Messer said. “Also parents will take a more active role in their child’s education.
“One example of this is that if a student is struggling in one area or has trouble on a math problem often times parents will drive their student to school early to get help.”
Richardton resident Lisa Aune agrees, adding she is pleased with the way the district is working to improve math and reading skills.
“I have children at both the high school and grade school,” she said. “Reading has always been presented as being fun and exciting and as the students grow up the emphasis on comprehension gets more intense.”
Attendance at the school was also very high. The district goal is 93 percent and Richardton-Taylor came in at 96.6.
Bautz attributed the successes to the value the parents and community put on education.
He added the district missed the graduation rate goal by 0.5 percent, which isn’t much, but every student counts.
“We do our best to help students graduate and stay in school,” Bautz said. “The statistic for that may be a little slanted because when you have few seniors and one drops out the percent it calculates too may make it seem worse or than it really is.”
The report is used by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and schools to track achievement against the state’s standards.