Board Meeting Covers Testing Information
Wolf Point High School principal Kim Hanks provided encouraging information regarding academic progress during the school board meeting on Monday, Nov. 13.
Hanks said math testing results recently received show good growth for freshmen and excellent growth for sophomores.
The math results were impressive for the current sophomores when comparing scores from 2021-2022 to 2023-2024. The results show that 54 students were in the 1st-20th percentile in 2021-2022, and the number in the lowest group went down to 25 students in 2023-2024. In addition, the number for the 6180 percentile improved from six to 16 during that time.
Test scores in English also improved for the class since the last testing.
“It’s refreshing,” Hanks said. She noted that 112 of the 226 high school students have an attendance rate of 90-100 percent. About 65 percent of the students have an attendance rate of 80-90 percent.
After school board chair Roxanne Gourneau asked trustees how they could help with improvements, high school teacher Doug Evans commented that the most important thing is to get students to school.
Gourneau requested data from Hanks regarding test scores and grade point averages.
“We need to examine ourselves,” Gourneau said. “I’m not afraid to look at criticism.”
All building principals said that participation for parents/teachers conferences were the best they had been in many years.
Wolf Point Junior High principal Dan Horsmon said that a benefit is building better relationships with parents.
Trustees approved funds for a 65inch Touchwall package to be located near one of the gym’s entrances. The touch screen will provide a variety of information including covering academics, athletics and history.
“We can put anything that we want on it,” Wolf Point’s activities director Eric Peterson told trustees.
Cost of the package is $18,762. Funds left by a few recent classes will help pay some of the expenses.
Trustees approved a policy review regarding searches and seizure.
Hired were Dawn Garfield as adult education coordinator and Brianna Perkins as Northside paraprofessional.
Trustees debated whether to continue a stipend of $5,000 for principals to conduct testing.
Superintendent David Perkins said that he felt $5,000 was a lot of money for the duty. He feels the school district needs to move toward a testing coordinator or curriculum director.
Horsmon pointed out that he used to serve as testing coordinator. The school district had a curriculum director and grant writer in the past. He said the school district has become short-handed during the last decade.
Trustee Mark Zilkoski asked if other duties needed to be done at nights or on weekends during the times when the principals spend hours on testing.
Board chair Roxanne Gourneau suggested that the decision be tabled until the December meeting or possibly until after strategic planning is completed.
She feels the school board is always approached with problems and is asked to spend additional money.
“We’re driving a vehicle without any fuel,” she said.
Trustee Michael Turcotte added that some students are not prepared to enter college when they come from Wolf Point to Fort Peck Community College.
“We’re hurting academically,” Turcotte said.
Trustee Trenton Wemmer pointed out that testing scores are improving. He also said that testing is an extra duty for principals.
Horsmon said, “The bashing has to stop.” He noted that he’s very dedicated to Wolf Point’s students. He said negative comments should be based on fact, and there’s a lot of factors why some students might not be successful.
Gourneau argued that there needs to be accountability. She said trustees have been willing to spend funds such as the weight room and bus barn improvements. She added that she wants statistical information concerning students.
“But I’m not going to be wounded here,” Gourneau said.
She explained that her feeling is that no one was taken to the carpet during the meeting.
“There has been no bashing,” Gourneau said. “There will be accountability.”
Perkins said schools can’t improve unless they know who they are. It’s important to not point fingers, but to offer solutions.
“Sometimes those discussions, when you aren’t where you want to be, aren’t easy, but you have to have them,” Perkins said.
During principals’ reports, Southside principal Tara Thomas said the after-school program features gymnastics, a book club, robotics and health education.
Northside principal Georgie Gourneau said the school has been selected as an intervention school by University of Montana partners. Northside will receive training on implementing support for students.