What message are we sending . . .

November 21st, 2015

Earlier this year, I attended a conference led by education consultant and author, Steve Barkley. He shared with the group, how proud he is of his granddaughter and how well she does in school. He described how she had gone the entire first quarter without missing any of her spelling words and earning 100 percent on all of her other academic tasks.

If Mr. Barkley’s granddaughter was our child, how many of us would react to her school performance with great pride and satisfaction? Mr. Barkley’s reaction was much different. It’s not that he wasn’t proud of his granddaughter, but he was concerned that she might not be facing challenges that would cause her to learn and grow.

Mr. Barkley’s perspective challenges me, and anyone who is committed to helping young people develop. As we work with and support our children, I believe it is more important than ever that we emphasize the right things. With that in mind, consider the following:

  • Do we value A’s more than we value learning?
  • Do we value being right more than we value doing right?
  • Do we value convenience more than we value contribution?
  • Do we value playing time more than we value being part of a team?
  • Do we value self-esteem more than we value self-awareness?
  • Do we value comfort more than we value struggles?

It isn’t bad when our children struggle. Our role isn’t to remove the struggles, our role is to equip our children to face and overcome those struggles. By doing so, I believe we are preparing them for the future and instilling in them a growth mindset that will serve them well no matter what they face.

Student Achievement

November 21st, 2015

Each year the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District submits to the Iowa Department of Education an Annual Progress Report (APR). The APR serves two main purposes: to comply with the federal legislation, No Child Left Behind, and to report to the local community the progress that the district is making towards the annual student achievement goals. Other information such as post-secondary data, early intervention goals, and attendance data are also provided. The report is generally submitted in September to the State of Iowa and shared via the district newsletter in November.

In addition to meeting the reporting requirement, we use this—and other data—to determine how to best focus our efforts as a school district. Based upon all considered data, our district focus is “to design our system so that we improve learning for all students and lessen the achievement gap between “all students” and our Low SES, IEP, and ELL subgroups

Student Achievement goals involve the district’s School Improvement Advisory Council, Leadership Team, Building Teams, and the Board of Education. The Board-adopted student achievement goal, supporting initiatives, and measurable progress indicators for 2014-15 are shown below:

District Goal: All K-12 students will achieve at high levels in reading comprehension, math, and science prepared for success beyond high school. In addition, increased student learning will be demonstrated in all curricular areas through the use of formative and summative assessment data.

  • Supporting Initiatives: PLC—Collaborative Learning Teams, Iowa Core Implementation, Reading Strategies, Cognitive Guided Instruction, APL Instructional Strategies, & Authentic Intellectual Work.
  • Measurable Progress Indicator
    • Reading Comprehension
      • 90% of 3rd – 11th Grade students will score in the proficient range or demonstrate at least one year’s growth on the Iowa Assessments
    • Math
      • 88% of 3rd – 11th Grade students will score in the proficient range or demonstrate at least one year’s growth on the Iowa Assessments.
    • Science & Social Studies
      • 90% of 3rd – 11th Grade students will score in the proficient range or demonstrate at least one year’s growth on the Iowa Assessments.
    • General
      • Curriculum Specialists will report progress on specific curriculum area student-learning goals.

The APR is based upon Iowa Assessment data for our school district. Below is some summarized data for reading and math.

Grade Level                       Student Group                    % Proficient in Reading                  % Proficient in Math

Grades 3-5                            All Students                                          92.33%                                                  90.67%

Grades 3-5                            Low SES Students                               88.24%                                                  82.35%

Grades 3-5                            IEP Students                                         80%                                                        76.67%

Grades 3-5                            ELL Students                                       NR*                                                        NR*


Grade Level                        Student Group                     % Proficient in Reading                  % Proficient in Math

Grades 6-8                            All Students                                          85.32%                                                  91.67%

Grades 6-8                            Low SES Students                               76.92%                                                  84.62%

Grades 6-8                            IEP Students                                         33.33%                                                  50%

Grades 6-8                            ELL Students                                       NR*                                                        NR*


Grade Level                        Student Group                     % Proficient in Reading                  % Proficient in Math

Grade 11                               All Students                                          92.16%                                                  94.12%

Grade 11                               Low SES Students                               83.33%                                                  83.33%

Grade 11                               IEP Students                                         NR*                                                        NR*

Grade 11                               ELL Students                                       NR*                                                        NR*

*NR = Not reportable because the number of students was too low

ACT Testing Data:

ACT provides a benchmark score on subject-area tests to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The Benchmark scores are as follows: College English Composition = ACT English-18 or higher, College Algebra = ACT Math-22 or higher, College Social Science = ACT Reading-22, College Biology = ACT Science-23.


College Course MOC-FV Iowa Nation
College English Composition 89% 75% 64%
College Algebra 53% 48% 42%
College Social Science 80% 55% 46%
College Biology 67% 48% 38%
Met All Four 41% 33% 28%


Five-year trend data for our student scores on the ACT test are shown below:

Academic Year Reading Reading English English
2010-11 24.5 22.6 23.6 21.7
2011-12 24.5 22.5 23.8 21.6
2012-13 24.3 22.5 24.3 21.5
2013-14 24.6 22.5 24.4 21.5
2014-15 25.1 22.7 23.7 21.6
Academic Year
Math Math Science Science
2010-11 22.3 21.9 24.2 22.4
2011-12 22.2 21.7 24.2 22.2
2012-13 23.5 21.6 24.6 22.2
2013-14 22.1 21.4 24 22.2
2014-15 22 21.5 23.9 22.3
Academic Year Composite Composite
2010-11 23.8 22.3
2011-12 23.7 22.1
2012-13 24.3 22.1
2013-14 23.9 22
2014-15 23.9 22.2


You can find the entire Annual Progress Report at, https://www.educateiowa.gov/data-reporting/district-aea-reports, or a hard copy can be obtained at the MOC-Floyd Valley School District Office, located at 709 8th Street South East.

Focus on Learning . . .

November 17th, 2015

At MOC-Floyd Valley, we are striving to make every classroom a place of rich and valuable learning for all students. Such a systemic goal requires clear and focused collaboration throughout the district. One of the tools we use to assess our efforts and provide direction is a process called, “Instructional Rounds” – which is the educational version of medical rounds used in many medical school programs.
Instructional Rounds are a disciplined way for educators to work together to improve instruction (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009). The process combines three common elements of improvement: classroom observation, an improvement strategy, and a network of educators.
Rounds visits are centered on the instructional core – the teacher, the students, and the content. There are seven principles of the instructional core that guide our work (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009). They are:
1) Increases in student learning occur only as a consequence of improvements in the level of the content, teachers’ knowledge & skill, and student engagement.
2) If you change any single element of the instructional core, you have to change the other two.
3) If you can’t see it in the core, it’s not there.
4) Task predicts performance.
5) The real accountability system is in the tasks that students are asked to do.
6) We learn to do the work by doing the work, not by telling other people to do the work, not by having done the work at some time in the past, and not by hiring experts who can act as proxies for our knowledge about how to do the work.
7) Description before analysis, analysis, before prediction, and prediction before evaluation.
At MOC-Floyd Valley, we are conducting Rounds visits in each building two times per year. These visits are focused on different elements of the instructional core, and they align with our professional development efforts. The data collected provides us with proof that what we have deemed important is either working or isn’t working.
Administrators, instructional coaches and teachers work together to design and conduct the visits. All staff members are engaged in processing the data and implementing any identified changes. From there, we repeat the cycle as a part of our commitment to continuous improvement that is centered on learning.