Mexico School District No. 59 uses an assessment tool known as iReady for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program assessed test scores and the end-of-year results. The results were provided to the board of education Tuesday by Assistant Superintendent Larry Nelson.

Data from 2019 in math and reading shows considerable improvement when compared to 2018 for students learning at or above grade level. Only 39% of students in second grade were at above their grade level for reading in 2018. Those same students, now in third grade, are 67% at or above grade level. Other improvement leaps include seventh grade math — 7% in 2018 to 31% in 2019.

The data provided also showed percentages of students at or above grade level, one level below or or more levels below per school and per grade level for the 2018-19 school year. Students are between 40% and 58% percent at or above grade level in reading and math depending on which subject area and which building data is viewed. This extra data is new for this year as provided by iReady, Nelson said. The only data available last year was the number of students at or above grade level.

"This data will be used to impact next year," Nelson said. "[Teachers and administrators] will use this data to help develop their building improvement goals, student learning goals coming into the next year."

Data teams, which are made of building administrators and teachers, including special education, also will use the data to create intervention processes for students who are behind within a week of the school year starting.

"I've really been pushing literacy, and I feel like we are doing better with literacy as far as instruction goes," Nelson said. "I think it's made a difference this year. We implemented new curriculum this year for literacy and it's made a difference."

The district tests students three times per school year with iReady. The first test is held in September, which results in lower scores due to summer learning loss. The district then tests again in January to gauge improvement after 12 weeks of instruction. It then does an end of year test. The beginning of year test also sets goals for the end of the year, so comparing end of year to beginning of next school year assessments will have different goals.

The building administrator and teacher will determine if a student or students need to be retaught a lesson, Nelson said. Building administrators are in charge of data teams which determine if a content area also needs to be retaught. “Are we doing it with fidelity so that we are looking at every kid? I'll admit, that's an area we need to tighten up on,” Nelson said.

Data teams also will work with teachers who are struggling with finding ways in which to improve student scores.

"Those are things that are brought up when a teacher says, 'I've tried this, I've tried that, and when you look at the data, this kid's not growing.' So, it's through that process (the data teams) start developing additional instructional strategies," Nelson said.

The district is developing a multi-tier support plan. The data teams’ process will be included in the plan so that it is consistent between buildings, Nelson said. "We've just started the first steps in that plan," he said. "We're assessing where we're at with it."

In other business:

• A vote for the district's 2019-20 budget will take place during the board work session at 6 p.m., June 25.

• Mexico Board of Education approved a bid of $65,515 from Mexico Heating Co. to replace three malfunctioning HVAC units at Eugene Field Elementary School above the gymnasium and cafeteria.

• The board approved the commercial card service agreement, bankcard services certification and directive and banking resolution with Central Bank of Audrain County. This was the next step in the district banking process after approving a bank accounts provider at May's meeting.

• The date of next month's board of education meeting was moved to July 23.

• The board approved the 2019-20 curriculum development plan. The curriculum development cycle for this year includes a review of 6-12 science, K-5 social studies, writing of 6-12 science and 6-12 English language arts and resource selection for 6-12 science and 6-12 English language arts. The curriculum will be implemented in the 2020-21 school year. Those responsible for curriculum development include the assistant superintendent, principals, teachers, instructional coaches, technology facilitator, department chairs, curriculum writers and the curriculum team.