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Newport School Board Discusses Kindergarten-Readiness, Graduation Rates

As Newport Independent Schools students continue to learn virtually, the school district is still delivering food.

In other business at last month's school board meeting, held virtually, Board President Ramona Malone said that the LED lights are still being installed at the intermediate school.

While students are away from the buildings, other projects will be ongoing: HVAC work is underway, and the front entrance at the intermediate school is in need of repairs due to a leak.

School officials met with architecture firm Ehmet Hayes to discuss a fire alarm panel and potential scheduling of the safety project at Newport Primary School. 

Meanwhile, the district is expecting more personal protective equipment (PPE). The district has a sufficient amount of face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves, it was stated, but it would like to order more.

The board approved a direct customer contract with Apple, which has exclusivity over the electronic devices distributed to students.

A memorandum of understanding was approved with Southgate Independent Schools for special education-related services. This is a yearly item.

The state did not require the annual Brigance Kindergarten readiness screening to be done this year due to Covid, but Newport did conduct the screening this fall anyway as did many school districts. 

Last year 65 percent of the kindergarten students tested ready with interventions, and this year 78 percent qualified as ready with interventions.  

Twenty percent were listed as ready for kindergarten, and 2 percent were ready with enrichment. This testing is based on cognitive/academic progress, language, development, physical development, self help, and social-emotional development.

MAP testing was also completed this fall, but since some of the tests had to be done in person, not all the students were tested. Seventy-six percent of grades K through 11 completed both reading and math tests.

Results were given for graduation rates, but it was noted that school report card data was impacted by Covid. In the 2018-2019 school year, the four-year graduation rate was 93.3 percent, while the five-year graduation rate was 100 percent. 

This year the four-year graduation rate came out as 95.7 percent, while the five-year graduation rate was lower at 94.2 percent, which was puzzling to officials.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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