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Funding makes a difference in Iowa school district

TUESDAY, APRIL 09, 2013 09:06 AM

At Irving Elementary School in Iowa, 44.78 percent of third- through fifth-graders were proficient on the math portion of the Iowa Assessments during the 2011-2012 academic year, according to the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. A total of 41 percent of these students were also proficient on the reading portion of the Iowa Assessments, which replaced the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS).

This spring, however, Irving educators hope to raise students' scores on the Assessments by 10 percent in both areas. Although school officials are apprehensive, they are also optimistic, as recent funding opportunities have allowed them to improve the level of instruction they provide to pupils.

Irving was not the only institution within the Waterloo Community School District to receive funding, as the George Washington Carver Academy and Lincoln Elementary School also received grants. In each case, school officials had an obligation to use the money to change their status as persistently low-achieving institutions.

"We're glad we went through this process," Gary Norris, the District's superintendent, told the news source. "We'd do it again. It's helped us put in place the foundation, the building blocks."

Something the grant money allowed the Carver Academy to do is hire instructional coaches who were able to make a positive impact on student learning. At Lincoln, the funding helped cover the cost of bringing on additional professional development teachers who have been able to supply pupils with differentiated instruction.

With more financial resources, the schools have also been able to provide more opportunities for parents to get involved with their children's school experience. For example, Lincoln was able to host parent nights and cover the costs of materials designed to boost parental involvement.

According to the Riverside Publishing Company's website, the Iowa Assessments test students' knowledge in language, vocabulary, science, social studies and other areas. School funding and the learning opportunities it provides can only help pupils tackle questions related to these diverse subjects.