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Fulton School Officials Find Reason to Celebrate In Overview of State Assessment Results

FULTON, NY – All FCSD students in third grade through eighth grade had the opportunity to sit for NYS assessments earlier this school year.

The results of such testing have recently become available to school officials. For the Fulton City School District specifically, school officials have found reason to celebrate in the broad overview of the results.

Executive director of instruction and assessment, Betsy Conners and director of instructional support services, Daniel Carroll presented the broad results to the board of education at the regular meeting held Tuesday (August 9) with the intent to present a more in-depth look through each grade level at the board’s next meeting (August 23.)

The general overview of the results gave Conners and Carroll reason to celebrate both student and staff success.

In the presentation, Conners and Carroll showed significant comparisons for the Fulton school district to districts throughout Oswego County, similar sized districts, identically categorized districts, as well as statewide results.

For instance, the FCSD as a whole outperformed all other schools classified the same as Fulton based on the NYS Needs/Resource category (“Urban-Suburban High Needs Districts”) on all assessments.

The district overall also saw a 5% increase in 3-8 ELA proficiency rate over last year moving from 21% proficient in 2015 to 26% proficient in 2016, a goal that had been set as a target for the Comprehensive District Education plan and ultimately achieved.

The FCSD maintains a 5% vantage over other urban-suburban high needs districts who score a 21% proficiency in 3-8 ELA, but falls 1% short of Oswego County results coming in at 27%, following closely behind similar small city districts performing at 28% proficiency.

To show comparison to all districts and charters statewide, the result was 38% proficient in 3-8 ELA.

A 3% increase was seen in 3-8 math proficiency as compared to last year, an increase in the Fulton district that exceeds the statewide increase of only 1%.

The FCSD boasted a 35% proficiency rate in 3-8 math, a score that matches the results of Oswego County and trails the statewide results by only 4% as that result comes in at 39%.

This rating outperformed similar small city school districts who scored at 29% as well as the urban-suburban high needs districts who scored at 21% proficiency in math.

Pridefully, Conners and Carroll went on to showcase the 2016 math scores for third and fourth grade in the FCSD specifically, as both of these grade levels performed better than all other comparison groups.

Third grade math proficiency in the FCSD scored 47% whereas Oswego County scored 45%, all districts and charters statewide scored 44%, similar small city districts scored 37% and urban-suburban high needs districts scored 28%.

Similarly for fourth grade math proficiency, the FCSD scored 48% whereas all districts and charters statewide scored 45%, Oswego County scored 43%, similar small city districts scored 37% and urban-suburban high needs districts scored 27%.

Carroll said in the age of opt-out, participation is almost never met at the required 95%. However, with around 80% participation statewide and roughly 85% participation for FCSD, he ensured a statistician would confirm there is enough to make the data results and comparisons reliable.

Conners credited these great successes to the district’s adoption and implementation of FCSD’s guaranteed and viable curriculum, which she cited as a risk when choosing to adopt the NYS modules for ELA and math a few years ago.

“We really focused on the guaranteed and viable curriculum,” she said. “(It’s) not popular everywhere, but we stuck to that, we really stayed true to this … and in particular at third and fourth grade where we’re starting to really see the fruit of our labors. This changing a belief system about, we didn’t need to expose kids to a mile wide curriculum, but we needed to go deep. The team really did a great job at that.”

She went on to credit the RTI toolbox that addresses needs by student, by skill and more so the ability to intervene with struggling students in a manner that is effective without a time frame as to ensure the interventions are producing quicker results for each student.

“I know there’s still room for improvement, I will never down play that but we have rolled up our sleeves and gotten down and gotten dirty, so that’s really the team approach,” Conners said, referencing the work of administrators and teachers throughout the district.

The next steps for school officials after communicating the overview of the broad results, is to carefully examine and understand the in-depth results based on school building, grade level and subgroup data which is scheduled to be presented at the next board of education meeting (August 23) at the Fulton Education Center.

“I am so psyched for the work that our district is doing and to see it take off in the right direction,” Conners said.