Holly Area Schools is excited to announce the implementation of a program called i-Ready that will provide our students with an innovative diagnostic assessment in reading and math. i-Ready Diagnostic helps teachers to effectively assess their students so we can improve the way we individualize instruction based on each student’s unique needs. i-Ready Diagnostic assesses the following skill areas.
- Phonological Awareness
- High-Frequency Words
- Numbers and Operations
- Algebra and Algebraic Thinking
- Measurement and Data
i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction begins by giving students an adaptive assessment in reading or math. Each assessment will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. An adaptive assessment is a test that automatically adjusts the difficulty of the questions according to each student’s performance in order to determine his or her abilities in reading or math. It will present students with questions that are both above and below their current ability levels as the assessment works to adapt to the student’s individual level of ability. Each time a student gets an item incorrect, he or she will be presented with a simpler question until the diagnostic finds the skill set within a grade level that the student is currently performing. The assessment efficiently assesses students across multiple grade levels, allowing for identification of root causes of students’ struggles or for identification of areas where a student is ready for further challenge. This information will then provide the teacher with a “road map” to instructional support.
This program provides teachers with a series of comprehensive reports to help educators make informed decisions about the instruction that is right for your child. This diagnostic provides a great opportunity for our Holly students and staff to engage in a locally implemented assessment that is not only aligned with the standards, but will also provide immediate feedback for targeting support in specific areas where a student may be struggling. With the implementation of this assessment, we are reducing some of the other diagnostics we have been previously using that do not possess the same degree of alignment and do not offer the same quality of data reporting features for teachers and parents.
The diagnostic testing windows for the 2016-2017 school year are as follows:
- Fall Testing Window – September 19th - October 10th
- Winter Testing Window – January 16th - February 6th
- Spring Testing Window – May 15th - June 5th
Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or the main office.
Any consideration of where this money goes hinges on the idea that Council would even have the appetite to make changes.
When the city's meet-and-confer agreement with the AustinPolice Association expired over New Year's weekend, it opened a can of worms the city had kept shut for two decades. While the base and coveted step pay provisions officers have enjoyed during that time are currently baked into state law, there were a slew of special pay items, which reward officers for certain positions or skills, embedded into the old contract that now hang in labor limbo. City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether to keep many of those in place.
The activist coalition pushing for contract reform would like the city to hit the brakes on any such action. In a memo sent to Council and the mayor on Jan. 3, Grassroots Leadership's Chris Harris suggested that organizational math points to "millions of dollars allocated under the old contract" that are now fair game for Council's reallocation into other programs that could address public safety: "from improvements in forensics, to neighborhood lighting, permanent supportive housing for the homeless, drug & mental health treatment, youth programs, parks, pools and other human services." Harris puts forward a $10.5 million estimate for special pay items, based on Council's budget questions and a Dec. 21 memo from interim City Manager Elaine Hart. "I think even [during the budget process] there was some notion on the part of the Council that with all the public safety contracts that things might not go as planned," Harris relayed when we spoke on the phone last week. "There were some questions raised about what would happen in the instance that there wasn't a contract and contracts weren't renewed, things like that."
Hart acknowledged in her memo that the city is currently at the mercy of state law when it comes to offering special pay provisions, and notes that Council will have to act to keep special items like field training officer pay, assignment pay, education/certification pay, and shift differential for working overnight. Beyond that, while Harris' memo targets $1.3 million in longevity pay, Hart's says that the item is allowed under state law and will continue.
APA President Ken Casaday acknowledged that Council has the discretion to reallocate what he called "any cost savings," but he also expressed doubt that more than $10 million could get freed up as a result of the contract's breakdown. "I think it's going to be very hard to pin down the true number," he said. "There's so many cogs." He referred to another part of Hart's memo, where she notes that the city can expect to see a "significant increase" in overtime costs due to commanders and lieutenants losing their exempt status under civil service law, which would come out of the budget elsewhere. Harris notes in his own footnote that the estimates rely on multiple assumptions.
Any consideration of where this money goes hinges on the idea that Council would even have the appetite to make changes. Members have been scarce since the break, but Jimmy Flannigan did tell me that his intention was never to reduce police salaries, but rather to make sure they were growing at a sustainable rate over time – and he believes his colleagues would agree. "There's kind of the broader, short-term versus long-term, how do we navigate this process to ensure that the Council and the union are having productive conversations that lead to a positive outcome," he said. "It's hard to have those conversations over Christmas break, which was my biggest frustration about the union's decision to suspend negotiations."
As for Grassroots Leadership and other coalition members, their work is far from over. Harris defined his memo as "just the beginning of some renewed efforts on our part to put some alternatives in front of the Council as far as how to move forward in this new world we find ourselves in," and hinted at possible action this week that could involve the groups laying out new suggestions for transparency and accountability measures.
"We want to move quickly to replace what's been lost, and not just replace it but put something in place that we feel will be even stronger."