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February 20, 2019

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It's all part of the winter school newsletter

Differentiated instrution, Senate Bill 216, NY Times ranking of Bluffton schools

Bluffton Exempted Village School winter newsletter is in the mail. Here are excepts from the superintendent's column. The complete newsletter is attached at the bottom of this story.

By Greg Denecker
This year the district, staff professional development has been wrapped around Differentiated Instruction. 

Teachers have been working to meet the needs of each of our students. This professional development has been done mostly in groupings of teachers discussing strategies, which are already in practice or looking at ones to put into practice this semester.

I have written in the past of our success on state achievement tests that are taken each year in our district. In early December, I received an email from a 2008 Bluffton High School graduate, Evan McCarthy, who asked if I had seen the New York Times article online comparing school districts across the country in value-added growth. 

This value-added growth study, completed by Harvard University, ranked our school district in the 95% percentile for academic growth over a 5-year period for students in grades 3-8. 

The link to the study is here: 

 Evan is now the Data Analytics Specialist/Statistician for the Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Florida. He graduated from a small college in Virginia and then received a master’s degree in Applied Economics from Virginia Tech University.  It is always great to hear from former graduates, like Evan, to see where their careers have taken them.

 As spring approaches, our students and staff continue to work hard to be prepared for the assessment season and the life-long learning that follows after leaving Bluffton schools. 

Senate Bill 216
You may have seen in various local media outlets the proposed Senate Bill 216, which is commonly referred to as the public school deregulation bill. 

This bill addresses components of the teacher evaluation system, teacher licensure, student testing/assessments, college credit plus, and student management and safety.  While this bill surely will not be passed as written, there are many items in the bill that seem to have considerable support in the legislature for approval. 

Thank you for being supportive of our school district and the variety of extra and co-curricular activities.  It is always good to see our community at dramas, musicals, concerts, and sporting events. 

I am amazed each year at the number of talented and well-rounded students in Bluffton Schools.  As I have said many times, we have such great parents, students, staff, and community members that it is an honor to be a part of this school system. 

Please contact me with any questions or concerns about the district.  Either stop in or call me at 419-358-5901.