Standards Based System
Instead of measuring "seat time" in the classroom and promoting students from grade to grade, whatever their skills, LPSD students proceed through a set of standards at their own pace (see yellow standards booklet). Teachers continuously monitor student progress and push, encourage and teach students. Some students may excel in completing district requirements and reach graduation level a year or two early while others stay with us and graduate a year or two later.
Lake and Pen students work through the levels of our standards in 8 content areas:
With this model, time is not a factor in student success. LPSD student performance is the measure of academic achievement - not a grade or period of time a student spends in class. At any point in a student's academic career, they can finish their standards and graduate (while most graduations are in May, it is not uncommon to have ceremonies throughout the year as students finish their requirements).
Accurate reporting of student progress is a critical component in every educational system. Teachers, parents and students must have an accurate understanding of the terminology used to describe student performance. Below is the terminology adopted by LPSD to describe student progress toward meeting standards in every content area.
|Advanced||The student is currently scoring between 90%to 100% on classroom assignments and projects. Assignments are complete and handed in on time.|
|Proficient||The student is currently scoring between 80%to 89% on classroom assignments and projects. Assignments are complete and handed in on time.|
|Developing||The student is scoring below 80% on classroom assignments and projects. The student is making steady progress toward 80% proficiency. Assignments are complete and handed in on time.|
|Emerging||The student is scoring below 80% on classroom assignments and projects. The student is not making progress toward the 80% proficiency. Assignments are not complete and/or are not handed in on time.|
Students often times meet district graduation levels in a staggered way. For example, a student may complete graduation requirements in math during their sophomore year but not reach graduation level in reading until the end of their senior year. For students who excel in any area, meeting graduation requirements early, the district pays for advanced courses (distance or college) for that child. It is not uncommon for a senior to be completing two or three LPSD levels while taking two or three college courses.
While the SBS demands more from its teachers, most would say that they find it more rewarding. The challenge lies in meeting each child's individual needs. While class sizes are small in Lake and Pen, teachers may have students at many different levels and abilities. For example, an elementary math class may only have seven students but those students will most likely be spread out over two or three math levels and be moving at a different pace. Differentiating instruction is a must. Thematic Units and Personal Education Plans are also tools that help teach and manage a SBS classroom.
So why do we teach this way? The school board, administration, staff, students and communities believe that this is a superior way to teach our children. Philosophically, it makes sense and the test scores are there to back up the system. We ask our LPSD teachers to embrace this model and look for ways to continuously make it better.