Demographics & Academic Achievement
Relevant, rigorous curriculum key to achievement
The Teaching and Learning department at Grand Island Public Schools is responsible for all aspects of our students’ academic experiences within the District. Our team ensures every student has access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.
No matter where a student attends they will have the same rich learning opportunities.
Additionally, regardless of where a student is in their learning journey, GIPS is prepared to meet him or her where they are and ensure they continue to grow and achieve to their greatest potential.
Student assessments help our team monitor and evaluate our curriculum, monitor student academic achievement and plan and deliver relevant instruction for all learners. As a team, we look at assessments in three different categories: for, as, and of.
- For: Assessment for learning allows teachers to gain insight into what student know and are able to do in order to plan and guide instruction.
- As: Assessment as learning assists students in developing an awareness of how they learn and how they can use that knowledge to advance their learning.
- Of: Assessment of learning informs students, teachers, parents and the community of achievement and helps plan interventions and support continued growth.
Federal programs support student learning and engage families in the school process. Federal Title programs help students in poverty, students from migrant families and students from immigrant families. Title services help our teachers and principals close achievement gaps by providing additional staff, teacher training and student opportunities.
Title III supports our English Language Learner Program. This program provides specially trained teachers to work in our schools to teach English language skills to students at the same time they are learning the GIPS curriculum.
Finally, the GIPS Teaching and Learning Department provides a broad variety of special education services students in all of our schools, starting from birth in some cases all the way through age 21, as well as our students in our community’s private schools.
The Nebraska Statewide Assessments (NeSA) are given to students in grades three through eight. Students in grades three through eight take the NeSA-Reading and the NeSA-Math. Students in grades 4, 8, and 11 take the NeSA-Writing, and students in grade 5, 8, and 11 take the NeSA-Science.
Our 2015-2016 NeSA results were no surprise to us. However, we want to let you know we are not at all content with these results.
So what are we doing to ensure all students have the greatest opportunity to be successful? In 2012, GIPS committed to a complete rewrite of our core curriculum. At a time when Nebraska was pondering the transition to college and career-ready standards, GIPS was already moving forward.
In 2015, Nebraska adopted college and career ready English Language Arts Standards. Because our curriculum work began in 2012, GIPS has since developed a comprehensive K-5 literacy program (implemented in 2016-2017) and developed a guaranteed and viable curriculum aligned to college and career-ready standards (implemented PK-12 in 2016-2017).
We have also purchased new rigorous and relevant resources to support students and teachers as they move through our new curriculum. The state will be administering a new NeSA assessment (NeSA-English Language Arts) in 2017.
Our students will be ready.
PK-12 math in GIPS has followed a similar process. In 2016, Nebraska adopted a new set of college and career-ready math standards. Like English Language Arts, a math curriculum team was created to write district curriculum aligned to the new standards. Curriculum teams in GIPS are comprised of 30-45 of our own expert teachers.
Our new math curriculum was implemented in 2014 for kindergarten students, in 2015 for students in grades 1-8, and in 2016 for students in grades 9-12. This is exciting for us as the new NeSA-Math assessment will not be given until 2018.
Science is in the midst of the same process. Kindergarten through eighth-grade curriculum will be implemented in 2017, as new resources will be purchased to support students and teachers in 2017. The new NeSA-Science assessment will be administered in 2020.
We know that the number one initiative a district can embark on to raise student achievement is to develop and implement a guaranteed and viable curriculum. For the last four years, the development of this curriculum has been our focus.
This school year our focus has transitioned to the implementation of the new curriculum, and as we look ahead, we will continue to monitor this implementation. We are committed to supporting teachers and staff through professional development so they can continue to hone their ability to meet the needs of all learners.
We also believe that offering students a voice and choice in their learning is critical to their success. As we move forward, we will explore ways to expand their opportunities so all students have rigorous and relevant experience in GIPS.