I just received the “Report to the Community” from the Colchester School District in the mail. The report was professionally written and produced, and it contained a letter from the superintendent, as well as information about school safety, class size, and spending per pupil. I was impressed with the report but for the lack of any quantitative data on how the district was doing in teaching our kids reading and math. I found this information at the Vermont Agency of Education website. The most recent data was from our kid’s performance on the SBAC tests for the 2017-18 school year. I learned that 57% of our 9th graders scored below “proficient” in math and 31% of these fell at the “substantially below proficient” level. 50% of our 9th graders scored “below proficient” in English Language Arts, and of these 26% scored at the “substantially below proficient” level. Superintendent Minor wrote in her letter, “We want to ensure that each student enrolled in a Colchester school is achieving at their highest level; and frankly speaking, we have room for improvement there.” I would agree with Superintendent Minor with 57% of our 9th graders scoring below proficient in math and 49% below proficient in English Language Arts. These are disturbing results. What, exactly, is being done about this? It was good to know that our students planted, harvested, and donated 203 pounds of potatoes, but we were not told that half of our 9th graders scored below proficient in math and language arts. Let’s get with it and insist that our kids do better. How much district money was spent on producing a glossy brochure. Next time send me a simple letter telling me exactly how well our kids are doing in the three Rs and put the savings toward bumping up those SBAC scores.

Tom Wieland

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