Norway adopts tests for school progress

NORWAY — Norway-Vulcan Area Schools will start a new testing program this academic year to track student growth in math, reading and language throughout the year.

The NWEA program costs $7,682, but the district will be able to get about 70 percent of that amount back from state funding, Superintendent Lou Steigerwald told the school board Wednesday. NWEA will replace the district’s existing tests of Aimsweb, which costs $1,012; Star Reading, which costs $1,780; and Star Math, which costs $890.

NWEA is common in Michigan school districts, with Breitung Township Schools adopting it last year, Steigerwald said.

Testing will occur at multiple times during the year and allow teachers to get feedback quickly so they can adjust their curriculums and set goals, Steigerwald said. An adaptive version is available for special education students, he added.

In other business, the board:

— Allowed Bay College to teach a college English course twice a week at the school. Students enrolled can earn up to six college credits.

— Heard from Norma Raboin, who has started a program to give children backpacks of food in case they don’t have enough to eat on weekends when not in school. She said she’s considered a non-profit organization under the umbrella of her church, but she’d prefer to base her program out of the school building for convenience. She asked the board to consider allowing her to use a classroom.

— Heard from Elementary School Principal and Transportation Director Rico Meneghini that all buses picking up students after school will have to do so outside the auditorium in an effort to ease traffic congestion around the school. Bus routes are being finalized and will be released to media soon, he added.

— Approved the annual Schools of Choice declaration allowing the district to accept any students in the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District or any contiguous ISD.

— Was notified food service employee Margaret Bray submitted her retirement. Her husband, Sid Bray, informed the board the retirement was due to a decision to cut hours in the department. She wasn’t given enough advance notice of the decision, and the situation should have been handled better, he said.

— Approved laying off classroom aides Kaina Tavonatti and Sara Davy. They had been notified, Steigerwald said, and knew of the possibility of a layoff since the board’s budget meetings.

— Hired Sam Galvin as a high school science and social studies teacher, Elizabeth Benz as a middle school science teacher and Jalen Bal as a middle school boys basketball coach.

— Agreed to post a part-time custodial position.