“We’re holding our own,” was a popular refrain offered Tuesday night at the Montville Public Schools Board of Education meeting as school district administrators gave a summary of how Montville students performed in the CAPT and CMT standardized testing.
Reading, the area the district decided would be its primary focus, something Schools Superintendent Pamela Aubin calls “our big bet,” revealed “great results.”
“This is what we want to see,” said schools assistant superintendent Brian Levesque as he pointed out huge gains in grade six reading on the CMT and “positive growth” in grade four. He said the district is “really making progress” and moved 23 students from the lowest levels up to proficient levels.
In writing, the district is “holding our own,” he said. “We’d like to make some more progress here.”
Mathematics was a different story. Administrators explained that “our focus has been on literacy” and that math, as a result, is not an area where Montville kids are progressing as quickly and consistently as educators would like to see.
Indeed, BOE member Deborah S. Reed-Iler said she was “concerned” that focusing on reading and literacy has left the door open for losses in math.
“(It) concerns me that we focused so much on reading,” she said, We were afraid this would happen and it happened.”
But Aubin pointed out that without literacy and strong reading skills “there’s nothing else.”
“If we try to focus on everything, nothing gets done,” Aubin said.
Levesque said that a new, free math program for first and second grade students is being piloted.
Several areas showed marked improvements; science, advanced placement and gains in reading for students that receive free or reduced lunch and with the latter, those students in 7th grade actually performed better than their counterparts that do not receive free lunch.