Boosting Test Scores

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School Superintendent Winston Brooks and his staff outline the state of Wichita's schools at a board meeting Monday night.

Brooks has five strategies in his plan to boost student achievement: staff development with emphasis on math and reading; accountabillity; keeping students connected at school with extra-curricular activities; parent and community involvement; and school safety.

"We feel pretty good about what we're presenting to you here," Brooks said at the meeting.

Brooks' driving passion this year is how to increase test scores. The Assistant Superintendent of schools gives one explanation why some students don't do well on achievement test scores, even though their report card shows them getting good grades.

"At the high school level it's very easy to have an unwritten contract with students, which is 'Susan if you just come to my class and show up and you try, you won't fail.' And sometimes that occurs."

Besides getting test scores higher, the schools are trying to figure out how they can keep students from dropping out.

Brooks says, "A number of our kids for whatever reason lack advocates, lack people who will push them and say 'hang in there'."

The administration's plans are quite detailed... so much so, some board members say it'll take time to digest it all.

Board member Connie Dietz says, "your head's kind of spinning after."

For a school board meeting there is a fair attendence.

But most of the attendees are school principals -- something that doesn't sit well with one board member who feels more parents should be here.

Kevass Harding says, "I see a whole lot of chairs vacant... so parents, you missed a great meeting. There should be more people from the community sitting in these chairs as well."

The schools will start using the new plan in the coming school year.

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