Comprehensive School Improvement Plan
Decorah Community School District
2004 thru 2009

The Decorah Community School District serves 1713 students and is comprised of two elementary schools, (PK thru 2 and 3 thru 4), one middle school (5 thru 8), and one high school (9 thru 12).  Beginning in fall of 2002, we entered a whole grade sharing agreement with North Winneshiek Community School (9 thru 12).  We are experiencing a less stable student population with higher numbers of students moving in and out of the district.  Special education students are drawn from four different counties in northeast Iowa and comprise 16% of our total student population. 11% of them are residents of the district and 5% come from out of district. SES is 18% of our total school population.


1.         What do data tell us about our student learning needs?

A.        What data do we collect?

The Decorah Community Schools collect the following required data:  (LRDA1)


  • Trend line and subgroup data for ITBS/ITED reading at grades 4, 8, and 11
  • Trend line and subgroup data for MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) reading at grades 2-11
  • Trend line data for Jerry Johns (reading fluency and comprehension) at grades 4-6

Class-Size Reduction (Early Literacy):

  • Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) at grades K-3
  • Stanford 9:  Reading Strategies and Comprehension at grades 1-2


  • Trend line and subgroup data for ITBS/ITED mathematics at grades 4, 8, and 11
  • Trend line and subgroup data for MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) at grades 2-11
  • Stanford 9: Math grades 1-2


  • Trend line and subgroup data for ITBS/ITED science at grades 8 and 11
  • State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) science at grade 7

Participation Rates:

  • Participation Rates for required District-Wide Assessments at grades 4, 8, and 11
  • Social and Emotional Growth of Students
  • Trend line data from the Iowa Youth Survey  (SDF1, SDF3, SDF4)

Other Assessments:

  • Graduation Rate
  • Attendance Rate
  • Discipline Referrals
  • Grade 7-12 Dropout Percentages (by aggregate and by subgroup)
  • Percentage of graduates planning to pursue postsecondary education
  • Percentage of students completing the core curriculum (4 years of English, 3 years of mathematics, science and social studies
  • Senior Exit Surveys
  • Career and technical education student data
  • Percentage of high school students achieving a score or status on the ACTs indicating probable postsecondary success
  • A comprehensive community needs assessment, which includes input from community members, parents, administrators, and staff (completed once every 5 years)  (LC3)

The data from the standardized tests has been used to establish biennium trend lines, which are updated annually and reported in the Annual Progress Report (APR).  National Percentile Rank (NPR) information from the ITBS and ITED assessments is used to monitor the progress of grade level and sub-group data over time in the areas of reading comprehension, math, and science.  (LRDA1)  Any reported information not included in the APR is filed at district offices.

The Decorah Community School District utilizes other indicators as listed below to assess student learning.

  • District Demographic Information
  • Basic Educational Data Survey BEDS information:  course offerings, enrollment information by course/gender
  • ITBS/ITED Data for grades 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10
  • Other Student Discipline Data
  • Student Referrals to Building Level Problem Solving Teams  (SDF2)


B.             How do we collect and analyze data to determine prioritized student learning needs?

District Advisory Committee

The superintendent has developed an advisory committee that is responsible for the collection and analysis of data related to student achievement across the district. The team is comprised of general education and special education teachers from each building, principals, curriculum coordinator, assessment facilitator, instructional facilitator, and special education facilitator.  In addition, information regarding the implementation of actions and activities to support district goals is collected and analyzed to identify future district needs. 

District Leadership Team (DLT)

The district has a leadership team that consists of the superintendent, building administrators, special education facilitator, technology coordinator, curriculum director, instructional facilitator and assessment facilitator.  This team meets weekly to analyze data to help with district and building level decision-making. 

Problem Solving Teams

Each building in the district has a team that is responsible for the collection and analysis of the data related to its level.  Each team meets to discuss the individual needs of students who are scoring at or below the 40th percentile on the ITBS/ITED tests.  The goal is to then provide assistance for these students and monitor their progress.

School/Community Group

The district has worked collaboratively with various human services organizations within the community to meet the needs of our students and families.  On a monthly basis the building principals and counselors meet with the Department of Human Services and their contracted service providers.  The families have given permission for an open dialogue to take place to discus how we can best help the students and families to be successful.  Various sources of data are utilized to determine the best way to meet the unique needs of each student and his/her family.

Community Advisory Group (Shareholders)

The Decorah Community School Districtπs community advisory committee, Shareholders, has been effectively serving the District for several years.  The group meets monthly during the school year, and every spring it shares an annual report and/or recommendations with the Board of Education.  Shareholders is comprised of 15 community members, 1 PTO representative, 1 support staff, 11 teachers, 3 students, 1 board member, and 2 administrators.  The committee remains actively involved in planning for continuous improvement of student learning.  Annually, it uses student, staff, and community information to review and analyze trend line data from the districtπs assessments of ITBS/ITED, MAP, ACT, and DIBELS; data on state indicators; graduation rates and follow-up information; student demographic information; and data on the district itself.

Decorah Community Schools also have a history of active participation with the community.  The following strategies have been used to provide information to and receive information from a broad range of community representatives:

  • Periodic columns in the newspaper about what is happening
  • The districtπs web page provides information about the district including standards, benchmarks, assessment information and student achievement information
  • District personnel frequently speak to a number of community groups such as Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Kiwanis and Vets Club
  • Local radio coverage is provided to the school
  • The local newspaper covers school events and board meetings
  • Several community surveys have been conducted to determine customer satisfaction with various aspects of the district
  • Building level newsletters are sent home monthly to inform parents of upcoming events and student achievement


C.        What did we learn through this data analysis?

Through analysis of district and building data and comparisons with the stateπs student performance trajectories, the following was learned: (LRDA1, LRDA2, LRDA3, LRDA4)

  • One hundred percent of students participated in district wide assessments.
  • The majority of trend lines on the ITBS and ITED assessments show students have made growth over time but the scores are currently beginning to plateau in reading and math.  Science had continued to show growth at the 11th grade level.
  • 90% of first and second grade students are proficient on the Stanford reading and math achievement tests. 
  • IEP and SES students at the elementary level have increased in proficiency, but trend line data for IEP students shows that they perform significantly lower than their peers at the middle school and high school levels.  4th grade IEP students score at or above the state trajectory. 
  • IEP students at the elementary level tend to be more proficient in reading while at the high school level IEP students score better in math than reading.
  • Kindergarten DIBELS results on phoneme segmentation show that by the end of the year 96% of the students are proficient.
  • First grade DIBELS results in oral fluency show that 100% of the students were proficient by the end of the year, 86% at 2nd grade and 85% at 3rd grade.
  • 29% of 4th grade students, 22% of 8th graders  ,and 37% of 11th graders scored in the 90-99 percentile range on the ITBS and ITED math tests.
  • In 8th grade ITBS reading comprehension test, females are scoring higher than males.
  • 24% of 4th graders, 18% of 8th graders, and 28% of 11th graders scored in the 90-99 percentile range on the ITBS and ITED reading comprehension tests.
  • 31% of the 8th graders and 33% of 11th graders scored in the 90-99-percentile range on the ITBS and ITED tests.
  • There is some indication that 9th grade students fall behind in reading comprehension. Over a 3-year period of time, a matched cohort group of 8th graders scored 82.4%, 9th grade scored 74.4%, 10th grade scored 79.7%, and 11th grade scored 81.5%.  In order for our students to reach proficiency at 11th grade some formalized reading instruction needs to take place.
  • From our district-wide multiple assessment data, we found that only 75% of our students were proficient on a SCASS module.
  • Graduation rates continue to increase.
  • 91% of high school graduates intend to pursue post-secondary education.
  • Elementary level office referrals have decreased each year. 
  • The Middle School has had no suspensions for alcohol or tobacco over the last 5 years.

In April of 2004, the district created an on-line community wide needs assessment survey.  There were 230 respondents including students, parents, community members and teachers.  Through analysis of the survey data, the district learned the following: (LC3)

  • 67% of respondents felt that students respect adults
  • 70% felt that students respect adults in the schools
  • 58% of the respondents agreed that students are respectful to other students
  • 64% of respondents felt that students who are in trouble or need help could get that help from someone in the schools
  • Respondents felt that the top 5 strengths of the district are:

o      Extracurricular choices 54%

o      Student academic performance 51%

o      Parent/community support 46%

o      Academic programming 42%

o      Teaching staff 41%


      Respondents felt that the 4 areas that need more emphasis in the schools are:

o      Foreign language 46%

o      Guidance and counseling 38%

o      Computer technology 48%

o      Talented and gifted programming 31%


Action plans used to address these needs will be developed and will include appropriate evaluation.


D.        From the data analysis, what are our prioritized needs?

Based on the data reviewed, we have developed the following list of prioritized needs: (LC4)

  • Improve reading comprehension for all students especially IEP students in grades 9-12, general 9th grade population, and for struggling readers in grades 3-12
  • Improve mathematics performance for students K-12
  • Improve utilization of science process skill
  • Improve learning opportunities for our students who are performing at advanced levels in all content areas
  • Improve respect and responsibility among our student population
  • Improve the technology skills of all students


E.         How will we develop goals and actions based upon the prioritized needs?

The district advisory committee will investigate the prioritized needs through research. They will develop actions plans for the improvement of student learning and character development leading to recommendations that will be forwarded to the Board of Education.



2.         What do/will we do to meet student-learning needs?


A.        What long-range goals have been established to support prioritized student


K-12 Student Learning Goals

The Decorah Community Schools, with the help of Shareholders, has developed a set of student learning goals for all students of the Decorah Community School District. 


Decorah Community School District graduates will be..........

Knowledgeable Individuals 

Effective Communicators 

Competent Thinkers and Information Processors 

Skillful Problem Solvers 

Collaborative Workers

Resourceful Learners

Responsible Citizens


Decorah Community School Districtπs long-range goals define the desired targets to be reached over an extended period of time. These long-range goals serve two purposes: 1) to meet locally determined student needs and goals 2) to address state and federal student accountability.

Goal 1:            All K-12 students will achieve at high levels in reading comprehension, prepared for success beyond high school. (LRG1, MCGF3, AR6, EIG1)

The following indicators will measure district progress with Goal 1:

1a.       Percentage of students who score at the proficient level or above (41st percentile or above using national norms) on the ITBS Reading Comprehension Test in grades 3 through 8 and the ITED Reading Comprehension Test in grade 11, including data disaggregated by subgroup.

1b.       Percentage of students in grades K-6 who score at the proficient level or above on the DIBELS reading assessment.

1c.       Percentage of students in grades 2-11 who score at the proficient level or above on the Reading Test in the MAP assessment.

1d.       Percentage of students in grades 1-2 who score at the proficient level or above on the Stanford 9 Reading assessment.


Goal 2:            All K-12 students will achieve at high levels in mathematics, prepared for success beyond high school. (LRG2, MCGF3, AR6, EIG1)

The following indicators will measure district progress with Goal 2:

2a.       Percentage of students who score at the proficient level or above (41st percentile or above using national norms) on the ITBS Mathematics Total Test in grades 3 through 8 and the ITED Mathematics Test in grade 11, including data disaggregated by subgroup.

2b.       Percentage of students in grades 2-11 who score at the proficient level or above on the Math Test in the MAP assessment.

2c.       Percentage of students in grades 1-2 who score at the proficient level or above on the Stanford 9 math assessment.


Goal 3:            All K-12 students will achieve at high levels in science, prepared for success beyond high school. (LRG3, MCGF3, AR6, EIG1)

The following indicators will measure district progress with Goal 3:

3a.       Percentage of students who score at the proficient level or above (41st percentile or above using national norms) on the ITBS Science Test in grades 5 and 8 and the ITED Science Test in grade 11, including data disaggregated by subgroup.

3b.       Percentage of students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 who achieve at the proficient level or above on the Science Test in the MAP assessment.


Goal 4:            All K-12 students will use technology in developing proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science.  (FTP1)

The following indicators will measure district progress with Goal 4:

4a        The indicators identified for Goals 1, 2, and 3.

4b.       Percentage of students at grade 8 who score at the proficient level or above on a locally developed technology assessment.


Goal 5:            All students will increase the number of assets that are indicators of positive social, emotional, and behavioral development..

The following indicators will measure district progress with goal 5:

5a.       Attendance rate as measured by the average daily attendance data calculated and reported on the Certified Annual Report (CAR).

5b.       Graduation rate as calculated by the Iowa Department of Education using data from the spring BEDS report.

5c.       Percentage of student body in elementary, middle, and high school that receives any discipline referrals (i.e., office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions).  (SDF5, SDF6, SDF7)

5d.       Percentage of students in grades 6, 8, and 11 that report that they have used alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs on the triennial Iowa Youth Survey.  (SDF5, SDF6, SDF7).


B.         What process will be used to determine what we will do to meet the long-range goals?

The stakeholders impacted by the five long-range goals should have a voice in determining how to meet them.  As a result, the District Leadership Team and the District Advisory Committee will identify stakeholder groups most directly impacted, and they will meet to determine actions and strategies to meet the goals.  Our district will use the Iowa Professional Development Model process to develop its District Career Development Plan and an action research design to guide conversations and assist in making goal progress.  As actions are developed to support each goal, implementation plans will be developed at the appropriate levels (e.g., elementary, middle school, and high school) to provide K-12 alignment of efforts.


C.        What is our current practice to support these long-range goals?

1.     Instructional Strategies Currently Used in the District

      Cooperative learning integrated into the content areas

      Leveled reading groups (2-6)

      Daily Oral Language (2-5)

      Daily Math Review (2-5)

      Flexible small group instruction (K-12)

      Standards-Based Instruction

      Team Teaching with Special Education or At Risk teachers and classroom teachers


2.     Instructional Programs/Services Supports Currently Used in the District

      District Career Development Plan (Professional Development Program K-12)

      At-risk Program/Services  (K-12)

      Extended Learning Program for TAG students (K-12)

      Special Education Program/Services (preK-12)

      Mentoring and Induction Program

      Alternative High School (9-12)

      Building Problem Solving Teams (preK-12)

      Student service partnerships (e.g., mental health services and community health services) (preK-12)

      Accelerated Reader (Technology-based reading program 5-7)

      ALEKS (Technology-based mathematics instruction program 4-6)

      Positive Behavior Supports


Decorah Community Schools delivers the following programs and accesses these program funds as a result of identified student need:

      Perkins: Vocational and Technical Education Programs (9-12)

      Title I, Part A: Reading Program/Services (1-6)

      Title II, Part D: Technology Usage

      Title III, Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students (K-12)

      Title IV: Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program/Services


3.     System-wide Management Supports Currently Used in the District

      Resource allocation (e.g., financial and personnel)

      Technology (e.g., data management system and infrastructure)

      Policy development

      Personnel evaluation systems (includes administrators, teachers, and paraeducators)

      Curriculum development

      Iowa Technical Adequacy Project (ITAP) (curriculum/assessment alignment)

      Leadership for CSIP implementation


D.        How is our current practice aligned with or supported by the research base?

            No additional information is given here since this question is aligned with sub-question 2E.


E.         What gaps exist between our current practice to support long-range goals and the research base? (include curriculum and instruction)

Curriculum/Assessment Alignment:

We have developed standards, benchmarks, and grade level expectations in all content areas for all grade levels.  Over the past few years, we have focused on aligning our reading and mathematics standards and benchmarks, both vertically and horizontally.  The appropriate ITAP documents are available at district offices.

Instructional Strategy Decisions:

In review of our instructional practices, it became apparent that we do not have total alignment among our written, taught, and assessed curriculum.  In some cases, this is because of needs for new instructional materials (math and science).  In other cases, it is because of a failure of teachers to familiarize themselves with the standards and benchmarks.  In the next five years we must address these issues:

1.              The repetition of material that has been mastered by the students at a particular grade level.

2.              The discontinuation of instruction based on past practices that may not have a research base

3.             The consistent implementation of strategies that are research-based and/or have contributed to gains in student achievement.


Reading Instruction:

The findings of the National Reading Panel offer a wealth of detailed information on strategies that have proven to work in reading instruction.

  • To teach reading well, teachers must use a combination of strategies, incorporated in a coherent plan with specific goals. A teacher who addresses only one area of reading or uses one instructional approach will probably not be successful. 
  • To become good readers, children must develop phonemic awareness (an understanding of the sounds that make up spoken language), phonics skills (an understanding of the sounds that letters and letter combinations make), the ability to read fluently and accurately, and the ability to comprehend what is read.
  • Systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic awareness directly causes improvement in children's reading and spelling skills.
  • Systematic and explicit phonics instruction produces significant benefits for children from kindergarten through sixth grade and for children having difficulty learning to read. Effective phonics instruction involves teaching a sequence of phonics elements, not just highlighting elements as they appear in a text.
  • Guided repeated oral reading is important to developing reading fluency - the ability to read with efficiency and ease. Guided repeated oral reading helps students recognize new words and understand what they read. 
  • The research is not conclusive on whether reading silently helps to improve reading fluency. It is not yet clear whether independent silent reading by itself improves reading skills or whether good readers simply like to read silently more than poor readers. Therefore, reading silently should be combined with other types of reading instruction.
  • Vocabulary should be taught both directly (apart from a narrative or text) and indirectly (as words are encountered in a text). Repetition and multiple exposures to words contribute to the understanding of word meaning.
  • Reading comprehension - understanding what is read - is best supported when teachers use a variety of techniques and systematic strategies to assist in recall of information, question generation, and summarizing of information.
  • Teachers must be provided with appropriate and intensive training to ensure that they know when and how to teach specific strategies. Teachers must know how children learn to read, why some children have difficulty reading, and how to identify and implement instructional strategies for different children.
  • Computer technology can contribute to the improvement of reading instruction. Early indications from the research suggest that additional studies and further analysis are necessary to determine the specific, proven contributions computer technology can make in this area.  (FTP2)

Current practice in reading reflects most of these guidelines.  However, we do need to investigate ways to provide learning support for the struggling reader at the middle and high school levels.  (AR7, AMN1)

Accelerated Reader, used at grades 5-7, does meet the No Child Left Behind Actπs definition of a scientifically research-based program because it is grounded in theory, evaluated by third parties, published in peer-reviewed journals, sustainable, replicable in schools with diverse settings, and can demonstrate evidence of effectiveness.

Mathematic Instruction:

The research base in mathematics indicates that student achievement will improve if instruction is problem-centered and incorporates the use of representations. ≥Emphasizing conceptual development and understanding can promote significant learning without sacrificing skill proficiency. Students in alternative programs implemented with fidelity for reasonable lengths of time have learned more and learned more deeply than in traditional programs.≤  (Kilpatrick, Swafford, Findell, 2001)

Current practice in mathematics does not reflect these strategies; as a result, these strategies will be part of our district career development plan.  (AMN2)

Science Instruction:

The research base in science indicates that student achievement will improve if the following guidelines are applied to K-12 learning experiences.

  • Align curriculum, teaching, and assessment
  • Are relevant to students
  • Connect science to other school subjects
  • Emphasize student understanding through inquiry
  • Are developmentally appropriate
  • Are accessible to all students

Current practice in science does not reflect these guidelines; as a result, the investigation of these guidelines will be part of our district career development plan.  (AMN3)

Behavioral Supports:

Success 4 is used at the John Cline Elementary and West Side Elementary Schools.  We have conducted our own action research in our district over the last five years and have come to the conclusion that this program is helping our students become more responsible and respectful of themselves and others.  Our surveys show an improvement each year in the attitudes and behaviors of our students.  Boomerang, a similar cooperative program with the ISU Extension Office is provided for all students in grade 7.  Continuation and expansion of similar programs will be considered.  Our action plan will reflect this concern and identify actions to meet this need.    (AR7)


F.         What actions/activities will we use to address prioritized needs, established goals, and any gaps between current and research-based practice? 

Whenever professional development is provided as part of the Decorah Community School Districtπs school improvement plan, it will be implemented according to the following guidelines:

Staff Development

1.              Student achievement data will be used to determine appropriate action that will have the best chance of increasing student learning.  Subgroup data will be analyzed as well as whole-group data.  (LRDA 1, LRDA4, LC4)

2.              Student performance in reading, math, science, and technology will be considered in setting goals for student learning.  (LRG2, LRG2, LRG3, PD6, TQ1, TQ2) 

Specifically, teachers 6-12 will review the teaching of reading in the content areas.  

Math teachers K-8 will choose mathematics textbooks/series that will be aligned with the standards and benchmarks previously written. (AMN2), IEI1)

3.              The district will use the District Advisory Committee to support and plan the professional development.  This team will study the data, determine the professional development needed to address student-learning issues, and support their fellow teachers as they learn and implement new strategies to promote student learning.

4.              Providers will be selected based on the extent of their experience and knowledge in the areas of professional development to be delivered.  Programs implemented will be research-based and align with the needs identified by the data analysis.  The research used will demonstrate the use of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.  (TQ6, SCF9)

5.              Professional development will include the components of theory, demonstration, practice, observation, collaboration (peer coaching), and evaluation (reflection).  Building principals will be responsible for ensuring that all components are implemented and will work with staff to determine the content of the professional development, based on student achievement data.  (TQ3, TQ4, PD5, TQ7)

6.              The Iowa Content Network, AEA resources, and professional literature will be used to review potential strategies and content for professional development.  Content that is selected will be research-based and will align with the needs identified through the analysis of student achievement data.

7.              Training/learning opportunities will be offered during in-service days prior to the beginning of the school year and during early dismissal in-services.  Part of the time will be devoted to district-level initiatives and needs and the majority of the time will be allocated for building-level use.  All staff, including guidance counselors, core teachers, exploratory teachers, career/technical teachers, administration, and all other professional staff, will be involved in the training that is offered.  When designing the content of the training, the following components will be infused:

      Career/technical education and issues

      Differentiation of instruction for special needs students and students with diverse learning needs (special education, gifted and talented, low SES students, students at risk, ELL students) with attention to learning styles preferences also

      Multi-cultural, gender fair emphasis

      Technology and using technology to learn



8.            Collaboration will take place through peer observations, grade level and/or departmental team meetings, and sharing at district and building-level in-service sessions.  Teachers will be held accountable for providing evidence of implementation through the use of implementation logs, presentations/sharing with the rest of the staff, and through their annual individual enhancement plans submitted to the administrators at the end of the school year.  Teachers will observe one another deliver instruction using strategies from the professional development training and will collaborate on lesson design.  Peer coaches will also discuss and reflect on implemented lessons.  (TQ8)


9.            Individual teachers and instructional teams will set goals that provide short-term benchmarks for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategies being implemented.  Teams will use student achievement data to set short-term goals that are one-to-two months in duration.  Progress toward these short-term goals is measured, and new goals are set based on new data collected.


10.           Summative evaluation of the professional development program is provided through year-end reports and data collected that reflect the amount of increase in student achievement, such as ITEBS/ITED, MAP, DIBELS, Stanford 9, and other data.  Teachers will also evaluate how well technology and career/technical training has been integrated into instruction and how these areas can be integrated effectively into the professional development program. 

Evaluation and supervision

1.         The Decorah Education Association and the Board of Education have agreed that the criteria on which evaluations will be based will be the Iowa Teaching Standards. (TQ5) A committee of teachers and administrators will design the career teacher evaluation and supervision component.  The teachers on the committee will gather input from all other teachers.  In addition, all teachers will provide input to the plan during district-level in-service sessions. 

2.              Individual Career Development plans will be developed and based on the data from the individual teacher evaluations.  Principals and teachers will review the evaluations and negotiate career improvement goals.


Local Descriptors of Iowa Teaching Standards

Local descriptors of the Iowa Teaching Standards will be incorporated into an evaluation instrument.  A timeline for the implementations of the process and the evaluation instrument itself will need to be approved by the Decorah Education Association and will need to be in place by July 1, 2005.

Alignment with Student Achievement Goals

The District Career Plan is aligned with Decorahπs long-range student achievement goals in the following ways:

  • Professional development content will be determined by the results of student achievement tests.
  • Research will be conducted to select the best strategies to be included in the professional development program.  These strategies will therefore be aligned with the long-range goals of the district.
  • Data about student achievement relative to the long-range goals will be used to measure the effectiveness of the District Career Plan.
  • Part of the career teacher evaluation and supervision component, as well as the beginning year evaluation, will be based on how well the teacher addresses the districtπs long range goals.
  • Individual career development plans will be based on individual teacher needs and will align with the districtπs long-range improvement goals. (PD6, TQ1, TQ2)

G.        How will we support implementation of the identified actions?

We will devise implementation plans for the actions previously described for CSIP goals 1,2,3,4, and 5.  Implementation plans will address the following components:

      Clear expectations at the district and classroom levels

      Baseline data for each action, if available

      Resources to support each action including timelines, personnel, and budget (including state and federal programs support as necessary)

      Specific implementation outcomes for action steps

      Persons responsible for oversight of implementation

      Evaluation of action implementation effectiveness



3.         How to we know student learning has changed?

A.        How will we know student learning has changed over time in relation to our long-range goals 

Students in all attendance centers at Decorah Community Schools are participating in district-wide assessments in reading and math (ITBS/ITED) unless they have an IEP (Individual Education Plan), which specifically prescribes an alternative assessment.  Evidence for the technical adequacy of our assessments is on file through the ITAP process.  (DWAP1)

Our district uses at least one multiple measure in reading and math which is the MAP Assessment (Measures of Academic Progress (DWAP6).  This assessment assesses students on all content standards in reading and math. The SCASS is used as the multiple measure in science. (DWAP7, DWAP 8).  Our students are assessed in reading, math, and science as per the Iowa Administrative Code.

Decorah Community Schools administers diagnostic reading assessment to measure phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension for students in grades K-3 three times a years.  Results are reported to the parents at least twice a year.  Decorah Community Schools used the following assessments: (DWAP3, DWAP4)

  • Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy (DIBELS)
  • Jerry Johns
  • Classroom assessments

As per IAC 41.12(3), evaluation of special education activities includes the process for monitoring students as demonstrated by: (ESPE1, ESPE2)

  1. IEP goal attainment
  2. Proficiency on district-wide assessments

The district uses an advisory committee to provide guidance in the development and implementation of Title 1 programs in the district.  This group meets at least twice each year, at which time they review student progress and use the student achievement data to recommend changes in the program.  The Title 1 staff schedules meetings for the parents of Title 1 students to inform parents about the program, seek their advice, report on assessment strategies, provide support for parents who work with their children at home and help with program evaluation.  Information gathered at these meetings is included in the Title 1 plan.  The plan is submitted to a committee of parents for review before it is finalized.


Decorah Community Schools Assessment Plan



District-Wide Assessments


Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11














MAP Assessment

Measure of Academic Progress for reading and math














Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy

* DIBELS assessment to be given grades 4-6 fall of 2004













SCASS for 03-04

Science Collaborative Assessment of Students and Standards













Jerry Johns













MAP Assessment

Measure of Academic Progress for Science

Begin fall 2004













Stanford 9 Math and Reading















4.         How do we evaluate our programs and services to ensure improved student learning?

A.             What strategies/process will we use to evaluate how well the activities included in section 2F were implemented?

Goal-Oriented Approach to Program Evaluation

The Decorah Community School District will use a goal-oriented approach to formally evaluate the programs and services it offers to meet prioritized student needs as identified in its CSIP. (ECSIP1) This goal-oriented approach to program evaluation includes the following components:

      Identification of programs that contribute to progress with CSIP goals (program expectations)       Identification of any additional program goals (program expectations)       Identification of variables which affect performance       Identification of the indicators by which program effectiveness will be judged relative to performance       Development of procedures for collecting information about performance       Collection of performance data       Comparison of the information regarding performance with the expected CSIP/program goals       Communication of results of the comparison to appropriate audiences

Decorah will use a combination of formative and summative evaluation processes within the program evaluation process. (TQ12) The district will also determine the frequency of the formative and summative evaluation processes for each of the programs/services by two factors: 1) legal mandates and 2) local data. At a minimum, an in-depth formal summative evaluation for all of the programs that Decorah incorporates into its CSIP will occur within a five-year rotation. Note: Decorah will submit, as required, any annual evaluation/reporting data for state and federal programs.

The District Leadership Team recommended the following program rotation and timelines for in-depth summative program evaluation, using both student achievement data and teacher implementation data:

      Professional Development Program (District Career Development Plan) will be evaluated annually, beginning in 2005 (TQ10, TQ 11)

      Title II, Part A (Teacher and Principal Training/Recruiting) will be evaluated annually, beginning in 2005 (TPTR1)

      Title I, Part A (Parent Involvement)  will be evaluated annually, beginning in 2005 (TITL1)

      Title II, Part D (E2T2) will be evaluated every two years, beginning in 2005 (FTP6)

      Title IV (Safe and Drug Free Schools) will be evaluated every three years, beginning in 2005 (SDF10)

      Mentoring and Induction Program will be evaluated every three years, beginning in 2006 (TQ9)

      Title III (Language Instruction for LEP Students) will be evaluated every two years, beginning in 2006 (LEP3)

      Talented and Gifted Program  will be evaluated every five years, beginning in 2007 (GT2)

      Perkins (Vocational/Career and Technical Education Programs) will be evaluated every five years, beginning in 2007 (PERK2, PERK3)

      At-risk Program will be evaluated every five years, beginning in 2008 (AR4)

      Special Education Programs and Services will be evaluated every five years, beginning in 2008 (ESPE1, ESPE2)


B.          What implementation data will we collect, analyze, and use to determine how well each program/service selected in section 2G has been implemented to support our CSIP goals?

CSIP Indicator Data to Measure Program Effectiveness

Decorah will evaluate the effectiveness of the majority of its instructional programs and services, at least partially, through examination of the indicator data, disaggregated by program participants, for each of the goals listed in its CSIP Constant Conversation Question #2. Based on input from the program providers, Building Leadership Teams, and District Leadership Team, the district decided that evaluation of these data would be sufficient, at this time, to assist in determining the effectiveness of the following programs:


      Professional Development Program (district career development plan) (TQ11)

      At-Risk Program (AR4)

      Perkins (Vocational/Career and Technical Education Programs) (PERK2, PERK3)

      Mentoring and Induction Program (TQ9)

      Special Education Programs and Services (ESPE2)

      Title I, Part A (Parental Involvement Program) (TITL1)

      Title II, Part A (Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Program) (TPTR1)

      Title II, Part D (E2T2) (FTP6)

      Title III (Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students Program) (LEP3)

      Title IV (Safe and Drug Free Schools) (SDF10)


Additional Indicator Data to Measure Program Effectiveness


The district decided that it needs additional information to determine the effectiveness of some of its programs. In addition to the indicator data associated with the CSIP goals listed in Decorahπs Constant Conversation #2, the district will also collect, analyze, and use the following data to inform effectiveness with the following programs:


Professional Development Program and Title II, Part A (TQ10, TQ11, TQ12, TPTR1)

      Percentage of faculty responsible for instruction who participate in district and building career development opportunities

      Percentage of K-6 teachers who accurately use the strategies as measured by observations and implementation logs

      Percentage of K-12 teachers who document technology usage in their implementation logs

      Percentage of K-6 students who are independent at grade level on DIBELS

      Percentage of 8th grade students who are proficient on district-developed technology performance tasks


Gifted and Talented Program (GT2)

Rather than judging the effectiveness of its gifted and talented program through CSIP goal indicators since Decorah does not believe that disaggregating its district-wide assessment data by gifted and talented student participants provides meaningful information, Decorah is going to use the following indicator to determine the effectiveness of its gifted and talented program

  • Percentage of all students participating in the gifted and talented program who meet goals in their individualized learning plans


Perkins (Vocational/Career and Technical Education Programs (PERK2, PERK3)

      Percentage of students by special population subgroups in career and technical programs who are proficient in occupational skills

      Percentage of graduates by special population who were program concentrators who receive a high school diploma or equivalent

      Percentage of senior program completers by subgroups who participate in career and technical programs who indicate their intention to continue their education, non-military employment, or military employment


Mentoring and Induction Program (TQ9)

      Percentage of beginning teachers participating in the mentoring and induction program who met goals of the district career development plan, as appropriate to their teaching assignment.

      Percentage of beginning teachers participating in the mentoring and induction program who demonstrate competency in classroom management skills


Special Education Programs and Services (ESPE1

      Percentage of all students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) who meet their IEP goals.


Title I, Part A, Parental Involvement (TITL1)

      Percentage of parents who participate in the annual evaluation of the parental involvement policy in improving the academic quality of schools served under Title I, Part A


Title III (LEP3)

      Percentage of ELL students who are proficient in English