Iowa school districts help reduce achievement gap

Four school districts have been honored by the State Board of Education for improving gaps in student achievement.  Boone, Forest City, Shenandoah, and Webster City community school districts each received a Breaking Barriers to Learning and Teaching Award, which was created by the State Board of Education to recognize successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps by improving instruction, curriculum and programs, and professional development opportunities for school staff.

“Many of the districts honored this year have helped low-income students gain greater success on our state test,” said State Board of Education President Rosie Hussey. “I think now, as Iowa faces challenging economic times, this award highlights the significant role our schools play in not only helping each child succeed, but our communities and state as a whole grow and remain strong.”

Districts earned the award if they made significant improvement among any subgroup of students in at least two grade levels, without allowing any other subgroup of students to decline significantly.

This year, the Board is also giving a special recognition to school districts that have high number of students in the groups often identified as being part of the achievement gap. The “achievement gap” in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students.

Among the districts with the highest percentage of low-income, special education, and minority students and the highest percent of English language learners in the state, the following districts have the highest percent of students proficient on the Iowa Testing Program tests in reading and math.

Math 3-5
Dows Community School District
Marshalltown Community School District
Waterloo Community School District
South Tama County Community School District
Wapello Community School District
West Sioux Community School District
Postville Community School District
Des Moines Independent Community School District
Muscatine Community School District
Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District

Math 6-8
Des Moines Independent Community School District
Sidney Community School District
Wapello Community School District
CAL Community School District
Sioux Center Community School District
Perry Community School District
Marshalltown Community School District
Waterloo Community School District
South Tama County Community School District
Forest City Community School District

Reading 3-5
Dows Community School District
Marshalltown Community School District
Waterloo Community School District
Postville Community School District
South Tama County Community School District
West Sioux Community School District
Lamoni Community School District
Wapello Community School District
Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District
Des Moines Independent Community School District

Reading 6-8
Des Moines Independent Community School District
Wapello Community School District
Perry Community School District
CAL Community School District
Marshalltown Community School District
Pomeroy-Palmer Community School District
Sidney Community School District
Waterloo Community School District
Aurelia Community School District
South Tama County Community School District

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