BACK IN THE CLASSROOM: Shelli Reetz, the interim principal at Lydia Middleton Elementary School, reads the book “Pete the Cat” to a classroom of fourth graders Tuesday. Reetz replaced Karla Gauger who retired in September. The Madison Consolidated School Board officially made Reetz the school’s interim principal Wednesday night. Reetz was a fifth-grade teacher in Minneapolis and Columbia, Mo. She also was an elementary counselor in Seymour. She started at Madison in 2008 as a literacy coach at E.O. Muncie Elementary School. Most recently, she served as elementary director for learning at MCS. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
BACK IN THE CLASSROOM: Shelli Reetz, the interim principal at Lydia Middleton Elementary School, reads the book “Pete the Cat” to a classroom of fourth graders Tuesday. Reetz replaced Karla Gauger who retired in September. The Madison Consolidated School Board officially made Reetz the school’s interim principal Wednesday night. Reetz was a fifth-grade teacher in Minneapolis and Columbia, Mo. She also was an elementary counselor in Seymour. She started at Madison in 2008 as a literacy coach at E.O. Muncie Elementary School. Most recently, she served as elementary director for learning at MCS. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Madison administrators on Wednesday explained the new A-F accountability grading process that led to the district receiving a higher letter grade on its annual Indiana Department of Education assessment.

Director of Secondary Education Katie Jenner and Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Madison Consolidated School Board. The presentation will be uploaded to the school's website, www.madison.in.k12.us.

For the 2011-2012 school year, Madison Consolidated Schools earned a C, up from a D the year before.

Jenner told the board that the scores at the elementary- and middle-school levels are based on student performance and individual student growth, while the high school score is based on English and language arts scores, graduation, and college- and career-readiness.

Jenner broke down data from the junior high to explain the new growth model. The junior high received a D on its yearly assessment, but Jenner said lower grades for junior high schools were a common trend across the state.

In Madison, the way the data was compiled, Jenner said the district was often within a few students of earning a higher grade in several categories.

"I know that the junior high is better than that," she said of the state assessment. "We are close, and we are working."

At the high school, Jenner said the school's increased graduation rate helped it earn a B.

Three years ago, the high school had a 73 percent graduation rate. Last year, they were at 85.8 percent, and current data shows an expected increase this school year, Jenner said.

"This year, we're projecting significantly more than that," she said. "We're very proud of that at the high school, and we hope our community is as well."

Jenner said the next steps for improvement include things such as strategic planning, creating a district learning team, professional development that is data-driven, implementation of instructional leaders and development of common assessments.

"As you can see, teachers in the classroom are very important, and we want to make sure they have the support they need and the professional development they need to support the students," Bolinger said. "Sometimes the grades don't reflect what we'd like them to, but our teachers are working very hard."

During public comments, Lydia Middle Elementary School parent Tasha Jenkins asked the board for a similar breakdown of Lydia Middleton for the yearly assessment. She also asked the board if there were plans to reduce the classroom sizes at Lydia Middleton next year.

"My daughter sits at 30 in a class, while my son sits at 29 in a class," she said.  

Board Secretary Carl Glesing said while there are some larger classroom sizes in the district, the average classroom size for the elementary schools is at 22 students this year.

Jenner said as long as the school has permission to release the breakdown of the A-F accountability, she would share them.

Also during the public comments, Madison resident and former teacher and administrator Pat Dryden followed up with the board regarding his concerns that teachers were not compensated for time spent working outside of their contracts. He said teachers who were displaced by the closures of Anderson and Dupont elementary schools spent time before their contracts began to move their classrooms.

Dryden read an email from Bolinger that said the corporation would not be compensating the teachers for the move over the summer.

Dryden pointed to recent actions by the board to pay a stipend to Director of Operations Mike Robinson for his work as acting superintendent while the board searched for an interim last year.  He also noted that the board agreed to pay Bolinger for days she worked outside of her contract.

He said it was unfair for the corporation to pay a stipend to administrators and not teachers.

Board Vice President Todd Bass said the issue was discussed with the Madison Teachers Association and that the decision to not compensate was made after the meeting. He also noted that while many teachers from Anderson and Dupont were forced to move, several others also moved rooms as part of the changes.

"We are in a situation right now where we cannot compensate every teacher that is affected by a move or by a closure," he said. "We would love to."

"We certainly thank every teacher we have for the job they do. Our scores are showing that our teachers are doing an outstanding job. And at no time do we want to show that we are not appreciative of that," he added.

In other business:

• The board held a public hearing before appropriating about $2 million for pool improvements and approving a final bond resolution for the plan. No one from the public commented on the project, and the board passed both resolutions unanimously.

The overhaul will include deepening the pool to allow diving, renovating the HVAC system and relocating the viewing area.

• The board approved a $7,812.50 contract for AlertNow, a system that delivers notifications during emergencies or inclement weather.

• Robinson reported that the school district is working with Teton Corp., Time Warner and the Cub Boosters to provide televisions at the concession stand. The TVs are meant for parents who are working at the stand during the games. He said the installment of the systems will be at no cost to the district.