Superintendent (copy)

Jim Shank answers questions during a meet and greet with the prospective superintendent at Taylorview Middle School in this file photo from March 2021.

One of the main goals for Idaho Falls School District 91 this year will be to demonstrate growth in student scores on the state’s standardized tests.

Idaho Falls School District 91 held its first State of the District address with Superintendent Jim Shank on Tuesday at the Little Theater in Idaho Falls High School.

During the address, Shank shared recent student performance data and outlined the district’s goals for its students in the Idaho Standards Achievement Test. District 91 was behind state averages for student proficiency scores in nearly all metrics, except for sixth-grade math and English language arts and literacy. Eighth-grade students in the district met the state average in the math ISAT test.

“The data would indicate that there’s some improvement that needs to occur,” Shank said.

The district’s students weren’t too far behind state averages in the ISAT. The greatest difference in scores was a 9% deficiency in the fourth-grade math ISAT. At District 91, 36% of fourth-grade students scored proficiently compared to 45% from the state.

While scores were down across the district, several schools’ students met or scored higher than state averages in either the reading or math ISAT at various grade levels including A.H. Bush Elementary, Edgemont Gardens Elementary, Ethel Boyes Elementary, Fox Hollow Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Online Academy, Sunnyside Elementary, Temple View Elementary, Theresa Bunker Elementary, Westside Elementary, Taylorview Middle School and Compass Academy High School.

One question from an attendee that Shank addressed regarded the validity of comparing the district’s student performance levels to the state’s because both seemed low.

Shank said it was important to consider the growth of students’ scores rather than the figures themselves.

“If you’re starting with a classroom in the beginning of the year and only 20% of (students) are reading proficiently, but by the end of the year it’s 60% — look at the growth rate that those kids had,” Shank said.

Temple View Elementary Principal Sarah Childers earlier told the Post Register in September that many kindergarten students come into the year not meeting the district’s curriculum standards at a proficient level.

About 25%-30% of students come in at a proficient level in the fall, Childers said. This is one reason why she said she feels the school’s full-day kindergarten program is helpful for students because it gives teachers more time to get kids where they need to be for the next grade level.

Shank will discuss the topics he covered in the State of the District address in a Facebook Live video on Oct. 22 for residents who were unable to attend Tuesday’s address.

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