Clarinda School District McKinley Central Office Building

Clarinda School District McKinley Central Office Building

(Clarinda) -- Clarinda school officials are "super, super pleased" with the latest student standardized test scores.

At its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Clarinda School Board reviewed the preliminary results from the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress' spring testing. Results shared by Clarinda PK-6 Principal Lesley Ehlers showed considerable growth in the elementary grade levels in both English/Language Arts and math. One highlight noted by Ehlers was an 89% percent proficiency in math among the district's 3rd graders.

"That was a huge surprise for me at first," said Ehlers. "I thought, 'is that number really right?' But, it is. Just huge kudos to our 3rd grade teachers, but it goes back beyond that. Our current 3rd grade class is our first year that has the Eureka math curriculum since kindergarten--so that shows that it's working."

Third graders were also 60% proficient in ELA. Fourth and 5th grade scores also indicated jumps in ELA and math proficiency. Though math proficiency dropped among 6th graders by 2%, Ehlers noted the number of students jumping from proficient to advanced in that grade level grew from 12% in 2022 to 15% this spring. Moreover, the number of 5th graders labeled advanced grew from 3% last year to 19% this year.

"So, we're really, really happy for our students," she said. "But, our teachers really put in great effort, analyzing the results from last year, starting from day one with this year, noting what needs to be changed, what needs to be added with our instruction. We really feel good about this. We feel we're on the right track. We'll just continue to grow and develop."

Improved test scores were also noted amongst the middle school and high school grades. Overall, 7-12 Principal Luke Cox says ELA scores in those grades grew 6.8% from last year. He noted the sophomore class' scores jumped from 56% to 76%. Math scores in grades 7-12 were up 14.2%, with 8th graders showing a 24% improvement, from 64% to 88%. Like Ehlers, Cox credited the district's teachers with the huge growth in proficiency.

"Our teachers worked really hard, preparing our kids for this," said Cox. "We had our ISASP boot camps during our academic intervention time, preparing them for what they would see on the test, using that testing vernacular--vocabulary in your everyday instruction. That way, when the kids get to it, it's not something new. It's something they're used to seeing."

Cox notes middle school and high school students were recently awarded with ice cream for their successful test scores. Final results are expected to be released this fall.

In other business, the board....

---approved numerous contracts, including Jake Lord as 9-12 head girls basketball coach, Brianna VanFosson as paraprofessional, Stacy Ellison and Heather Carmichael as food service workers, Dakota Woods as 7/8 industrial technology instructor, Cheryl Beaver as 7/8 family consumer science instructor, and Tana Wymer as elementary instructor, all for the 2023-24 school year. The board also hired Madison Sunderman as assistant softball coach and Deitrch Engstrand as assistant baseball coach for this season, Cole Ridnour and Jacob Privia as summer maintenence employees effective June 1st, and Linda VandenBosch as National Honor Society sponsor, effective next school year.

---approved the purchase of five smart boards for the PK-6 level from Bluum of Minnesota for $24,285.96.

---approved an amendment to the district's fiscal 2023 budget.

---approved a list of PTA fundraisers for next school year.

---approved the second and final reading of the Iowa Association of School Boards policy primer.

Thank you for reading

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing