SSC exceeds state in eight M-STEP categories


STANDISH — The Standish-Sterling Community School District met or exceeded the state average in 10 of the 17 categories tested on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress in 2018, according to Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski.

The district was able to score the highest among schools in the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District in categories such as fifth-grade social studies, sixth-grade English language arts and seventh-grade math, Kroczaleski said.

However, despite exceeding the state in eight categories, Kroczaleski said scores were generally lower compared to last year’s, especially in the third and fourth grade.

“We are down a little bit than we are used to,” Kroczaleski said. “Overall, we met or exceeded the state in 10 of the 17 categories but for the last three years we’ve been higher than that.”

According to MI School Data, the state's official public portal for education data, the percentage of SSC students scoring proficient or advanced in elementary testing went from 46 percent in the 2015-16 academic year, to 41 percent the next year and finally 38 percent in the most recent tests.

He cited the restructuring of the district that occurred last year as a possible reason for lower scores, along with changes in faculty and staff.

Last year, the district closed Standish Elementary and moved grades 1-6 to the former middle school, which is now Standish-Sterling Central Elementary.

“Just learning the new building, new process, I think that had something to do with it,” Kroczaleski said. “Plus, overall I think we had four new teachers in the district. In fourth grade we have four teachers, one was new to the district and the other was new to fourth grade, so I think that had something to do with it.”

Kroczaleski said he expects the scores to improve in the upcoming spring after the district has had a year to fully adjust to the changes.

“Our teachers at the beginning of the year, they were still unpacking and getting into the routines of the building,” Kroczaleski said. “They didn't have as much time to focus on their curriculum and their teaching. That is much better this year, so I fully anticipate that will be better this coming year.”

The district is also using the data from the tests to identify weak areas in the curriculum and taking steps to improve those areas, Kroczaleski said.

He added that the data is also being used to identify students who didn't perform as strongly so the school can provide them with aid through more practice and instruction from teachers.

“That is something that is always ongoing; we are always looking at the data but that definitely is happening,” Kroczaleski said. “It has been happening. We are a month into school and it has already been in place and that is one area that we are focused on.”


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