Kindergarten teacher Amanda Ewing (above) welcomes children to her classroom for their first day of school on the opening day of classes at the Pleasant Hill Primary School last Tuesday morning. There was almost no change in Pleasant Hill school enrollment this year. The R-3 administration reported that 2,112 students showed up for classes on opening day last Tuesday. That’s just two fewer students than were reported on opening day a year ago. Building principals said that the first day of classes in the R-3 District went smoothly despite a brief downpour while school buses were picking up children on Tuesday morning and detours made necessary by repair work on the “green bridge” on 7 Highway south of Pleasant Hill. “Our administrators, teachers and staff did a good job of preparing for opening day,” Dr. Townsend said, “ and we thank them for their hard work.” He said classes in the R-3 District are off to a good start and everyone is looking forward to another great school year in Pleasant Hill in 2015-16.
School applauds test scores
By F. KIRK POWELL
Editor & Publisher . ..Results of Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and end of course tests that students took last spring are out and assistant superintendent Becky Gallagher told the Pleasant Hill School Board last week that the R-3 District has a lot to celebrate. . ..Dr. Gallagher said the test results show that Pleasant Hill students outperformed the state average at the proficient and advanced levels in all tested areas in science and social studies. . ..Pleasant Hill students did better than the state average in six out of nine tested areas in mathematics and seven out of eight tested areas in English.
Dr. Gallagher said that R-3 students outperformed the state by double digits in a number of tested areas. . ..“The R-3 District has a lot to celebrate with these results on a new test based on much more rigorous standards,” she said. “The percentage of our students testing in the advanced category were higher than the state’s on a majority of the tests.” . ..Dr. Gallagher said the test scores are a result of the commitment that teachers, administrators and staff have made to help Pleasant Hill students be much more competent at problem solving and critical thinking. She said the tests results also validate the hard work that teachers have put in the past several years on curriculum alignment, instructional initiatives, non-negotiables, and shifts to more rigorous standards. . ..“These results only happen because of consistent instruction from kindergarten through high school, through good planning by teachers and the dedication of all R-3 staff members.” she said. “Pleasant Hill students, parents, staff and the whole community have much of which to be proud.”
Later in the R-3 Board’s August 18 meeting, building principals and teachers reported on efforts being made in their buildings on improving student performance. . ..Dr. Paul Canaan and counselor Tammy Vogler outlined progress being made at the High School. They said there has been an increase in the number of Pleasant Hill students attending Missouri Boys State and Girls State, Summit Tech the and Missouri Innovation Campus. This said the High School has also posted increases in required vocational assessments and called attention to an increase in the percentage of proficient and advanced students in seven of the eight end of course tested areas last spring. . ..Middle School principal Jenny Daniel and counselor Beth Pate reported on integration of technology and the success of improved research and level of learning in the Chromebook English classrooms and the science iPad classrooms. They told the R-3 Board about extensive measures to improve climate and relationships at the Middle School. One example They shared was how the school is working with the City of Pleasant Hill to complete 30 community service projects with 300 students and numerous adults in May of 2015. . ..Intermediate School principal Chandra Arbuckle and fifth grade teacher Becky Murray reported on how the school is raising standards and aligning lesson plans, improving instructional practices and implementing standards based grading. They said the Middle School has improved the way tea hers address student needs with Response to Intervention by focusing on Tier 2 and 3 differentiation for students needing additional time to master concepts. Middle School test results show the positive impact co-teaching, cross-curricular activities, and alignment of academic language have had on student success. . ..The Elementary School presentation was given by principal Sue Herrera and third grade teacher Lyndsey Martin. They reported on the Middle School’s success in earning a Crayola Grant and implementing art infused instruction in the classrooms. They told how the school is regularly recognizing the whole child and restructuring the High-Five program. In addition, they said a challenging learning environment played a significant role in a marked increase in student achievement. Improved test scores were the result of new instructional practices such as infusing technology into instruction, flipped classrooms, problem-based learning, utilizing high yield instructional strategies, increased pacing of lessons and using data to drive instruction. . ..Primary School principal Sandra Haight and first grade teacher Michele Blevins told the R-3 Board that each grade level showed growth in scores on the Gates-MacGinitie reading test. They said Discovery Education benchmark assessments show continued growth and improvement at the proficient and advanced levels in both reading and mathematics. The Primary School staff also continued to work on building a positive and safe school climate and survey results show more than 95 percent of students feel safe at school, know that their teacher cares for them and expect them to do their best. . ..The R-3 Board thanked the principals and teachers for their presentations and complimented the entire faculty and administration for their hard work and dedication in improving student success in recent years. . ..Later, assistant superintendent John Griffith reported that the summer projects are complete. The projects included improvements at Skyline Field, new visitor bleachers at Eklund Field, new retractable bleachers at the Middle School, roof repairs at the High School and asphalt repairs to the student and teacher parking lots at the High School. He thanked the R-3 custodial staff for their hard work in completing the summer work schedule.
Finally, R-3 Board member Phil Kassel reported on MSBA Outstanding Board criteria and suggested that Pleasant Hill work toward earning that recognition in the future. . ..In an executive session that followed the regular meeting, the R-3 Board approved the employment of Shiela Ross as a Primary School nurse and extra duty assignments for lunch shift monitor Erin Werges, Friends of Rachel sponsors Tammy Vogler and Ashley Knoll Ekochu, SADD sponsor Tammy Vogler, volunteer softball coach Steve Zahn, Middle School volleyball assistant Danielle Justice, High School Student Council sponsors Jakqualyn Boden, and Crystal Monath. . ..Substitute teachers approved by the R-3 Board included Kathy Caskey, Donald Cripps, Karen Davey, Patricia Dutcher, Lindsey Dykes, Jackie Erisman, Ashley Fenton, LaDonna Findley, Ste-ven Haight, Thomas Hardy, Laurie Jo Holmes, Tami Jackson, Al Iantorno, Richard Lally, Diana Lentz, Kerrie Mann, Duke Neff, Janice Parris, Shawna Peacock, Cerine Proudfit, Melissa Rinker, Joann Semegan, Sherrie Silber, Lisa Smith, Timothy Smith, John Stahl, Brenda Swofford, Chloe Yoder, Steven Yoder, Ebony Shaffer, Linda Cromwell and Deanna Crowe.