Board hears great things about Elm Lawn

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Elm Lawn principal Bob Schell and Sauk Trail principal Chris Dahlk presented the continuous improvement process action plans and data regarding improvement for their respective schools at the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Monday, Oct. 26.

Schell injected some humor into his presentation by discussing his mustache and then sharing pictures of other District officials and their mustaches, including Deputy Superintendent and former Elm Lawn principal George Mavroulis from 20 years ago.

Schell said 59 percent of students hit their projected growth target, which was slightly below the goal. The school was above the mark in the winter but dropped during spring testing, which was puzzling, he said. He also noted that above benchmark students grew by 8 points, while below benchmark students grew 15 points, which was one point above the target goal.

He also noted that 87 percent of students were at or above benchmark in MAP math by the spring of 2015, while 80 were at or above benchmark in the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment last spring.

"We have some high targets to hit this year,'' Schell said.

He raved about the school's PBIS efforts. Last year, 375 students were recognized 653 times for their positive behaviors and students are on the same pace this year. He also noted the ratio of positive-to-negative referrals is 4-1 and that two-thirds of the negative referrals are repeat offenders.

He is working with Transportation Services director Jeff Fedler to solve some busing issues with extended day and after-school programs. Schell also noted the school started a Mi-Fi and Chromebook summer program to help address the achievement gap and that they are seeing some gains from students already. Elm Lawn has also partnered with Student Voice Union at MHS and those students are coming to the school 1-2 times a month and mentoring African-American students.

"Our students are asking on a regular basis when they are coming and are very excited,'' he said.

"That's a tough act to follow,'' said Dahlk, who is in her seventh year at Sauk Trail and has been working in the District since 1991.