Depew Middle School administrators and teachers have been working for the past three months on a plan to address a large gap in math assessment scores between students with disabilities and other students.
Principal Joseph D’Amato on Tuesday night told the Depew Board of Education that state Education Department officials informed the school in August that a 100-point disparity in scores has existed over the past two academic years and that a Local Assistance Plan is required to outline how the school plans to close the gap. About 40 students are affected, he said.
State officials outlined five areas that must be addressed in the school’s plan, including school leadership practices and decisions; curriculum development and support; teacher practices and decisions; student social and emotional development;and family and community engagement and communication.
Teams of teachers and administrators have been reviewing data from past exams, curriculum documents and leadership and classroom practices in order to define areas toward which to focus an action plan. Students and parents also have been interviewed so the team is able to determine if student needs are being fully met and if information is properly distributed to parents.
D’Amato outlined the action plan, with the first step involving him performing walk-throughs during math classes so he can observe practices and discuss them with staff during future meetings. Other steps include adjusting instructional programming to meet student needs, enhancing the culture to better recognize student and teacher successes and improving communication with parents and students so they better understand everything from expectations to what a grade means.
“Sometimes an 86 is just a number to a kid,” D’Amato said.
School Board Trustee Patrick Law asked to what degree teachers had input into the Local Assistance Plan, and D’Amato said that all points were reviewed by staff members. The plan also will be distributed to the entire staff for further review and so evaluation can begin.
“The staff will be highly involved in every aspect,” he said.
Also during the meeting, board members voted unanimously to enter into a six-month contract with Pyramid Brokerage Co. for the sale of the Terrace Education Center.
During a board meeting in September, Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey said that the former school building had gone through two unsuccessful bid cycles, and he encouraged the board to enlist the assistance of a real estate agency.
“My hope is a Realtor would aggressively market it across the region,” he said.
The board’s next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, in the cafeteria at the high school, 5201 Transit Road.