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School board debates issues surrounding DIBELS test

Ohanian Comment: My Ph.D. physicist husband failed the kindergarten DIBELS test. He speaks five languages and kept arguing with me about pronunciation. I kept saying, "This is a timed test!" but it did no good.

Note to Chickasha school board: Primary graders would do much better with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom than DIBELS.

by Jessica Lane

CHICKASHA ΓΆ€” The beginning-of-the-year reading sufficiency report for Chickasha elementary students was dismal, with the majority of students falling behind according to the DIBELS assessment tests.

DIBELS (dynamic indicators of basic early literacy skills) screens elementary students to identify the need for additional instruction to become proficient readers.

At Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center, 114 kindergarten students and 102 first grade students out of 204 first graders were identified for reading difficulties. At Grand Ave. Elementary, 43 second grade students and 66 third grade students were identified for reading difficulties.

Last year, 50 out of 106 kindergarteners, 15 out of 83 first graders and 12 out of 108 second graders were able to exit the program.

Board president, Bruce Storms reacted to the results with alarm.

"We've got to do something different. This is not acceptable," Storms said.

Another reading assessment showed the reading sufficiency in a different light, with about 75% of students exiting the program.

"That would be why we're giving three different assessments this year," Assistant Superintendent Robyn Morse said.

Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center principal, Tressia Meeks said that she thought first graders had a difficult time with the one minute aspect of the DIBELS test.

Storms responded that the DIBELS test was the test currently being utilized and therefore the burden fell on the shoulders of educators to teach to the test.

"We've got to teach to the tool. We have to teach our kids how to read," Storms said.

Both Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center and Grand Ave. Elementary principals have already taken action to hone student reading skills.

Grand Ave. Elementary principal, Kathy Wenzel said that there has been a greater effort at her school to encourage students to read. At Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center, Tressia Meeks said that the school was incorporating writing because they had recently found that writing and reading go side by side.

The state report cards, due to be released on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. by the State Board of Education are being recalculated and will be presented on Oct. 25.

School attendance by both students and teachers was addressed, with Glaze urging schools to stay at or above 94 percent.

The dress code administrators was also addressed by Glaze. Cutoffs, exposed midriffs and see-through blouses are some of the items not allowed to be worn. Jeans have also fallen under scrutiny, but exceptions made be made for school trips.

October being anti-bullying month, the Chickasha Public School website offers an option for students and/or parents who do not feel comfortable contacting school sites directly. An online reporting tool allows concerned members of the school population to report bullying incidents.

Glaze said that he hopes this will increase incidents of bystanders stepping in to fight bullying.

Julie Hibbard was given the oath to take Board Seat #4, replacing Joe Alford, who resigned in September.

In other business:

ΓΆ€ΒΆ A resolution for the election of a board member for position number two on Feb. 12 with a runoff election to be held on April 2 was approved.

ΓΆ€ΒΆ A resolution for the election of a board member for position number three on Feb. 12 with a runoff election to be held on April 2 was approved.

— Jessica Lane
The Express-Star Oklahoma


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