Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2013, 9:54 pm

Orion celebrates middle school test scores

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By Lisa Hammer, rlhammer@qconline.com

ORION -- Middle school principal Tiffany Springer said she was thrilled with the recent results of the Measure of Academic Progress, noting they include the harder common core standards.

"I almost wanted to dance about, and I don't dance," she said.

Ms. Springer said 95.4 percent of Orion students were at or above projected proficiency in reading and 93.4 percent were at or above projected proficiency in math. She said a lot of the students identified as performing below standards already are getting intervention.

Board President Doug Nelson congratulated administrators and teachers on the test scores.

"Sometimes we have tests that are mandated that get thrown in a corner because they don't have any merit," he noted.

Also on Wednesday, the board approved a school improvement plan through 2015 for C.R. Hanna grade school, noting the state's new harder standards will affect the district report card and report cards statewide.

"We are good, we are very good, at what we do," said grade school principal R.C. Lowe. "But when we look at where we want to be with common core standards coming up, we've got a ways to go."

He said math scores have been a hallmark of Orion schools for seven or eight years. With the new tests, Orion drops from 95 percent meets/exceeds to 73 percent.

"I know we still need to have that continued communication with the community and the staff that we are still a great school district," he said.He said the administration doesn't have the entire state's information yet, so there's no way to reassure district residents that schools are in the same situation.

So far, Orion has set aside three days this year for faculty to work on common core standards. A fourth day is planned after spring break.

The board on Wednesday also:

-- Approved a $25 per day meal allotment for students who advance to state tournaments, up from $15.

-- Learned volunteers are needed for a March 8 movie night fundraiser by the PTA at the grade school.

-- Learned the FFA pancake breakfast is planned for March 2.