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Community Notes – Charles City Schools year in review: The district advances

By The Charles City Community Schools Senior Leadership Team

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, we would like to thank the entire Charles City community for their constant support. We believe that schools thrive when a community thrives, and vice versa.

While we have some challenges and obstacles to work through, as a community, we can build on the progress we have achieved this year and move forward in ways that truly benefit our students. In fact, we are seeing academic improvements in our entire public school system, from elementary to high school.

We are pleased to share that the latest Iowa School Performance Profiles indicate the Charles City Community Schools is thriving, with each of the district’s four schools achieving a rating of “Acceptable.” This moves the entire district out of the “Needs Improvement” category.

While this may seem like a modest gain, it’s significant in terms of the performance of school districts across the entire state.

All 327 public school districts in Iowa administered the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) last spring. Of those schools, 26 saw a decrease in performance while 28 experienced increases. We are proud that Charles City is one of those districts that saw improvements, even during challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our elementary students are improving in both math and English language arts, as the percentage of students proficient in both subjects rose from 2019 to 2021. Middle school students also made strong gains in English language arts, achieving higher proficiency figures in 2021.

Our high school students are also showing encouraging academic improvements. We have noted a significant rise in the number of students scoring proficient or above on the English language arts section of the ISASP. This figure stood at 54 percent in 2019, but rose to 68 percent in 2021.

The ISASP also looked at high school postsecondary readiness indicators, finding improvements in scores on college entrance exams and increased participation in advanced coursework.

Looking ahead, our focus remains on increasing student engagement, including increasing teacher collaboration, aligning our programs with state standards and promoting career pathways that encourage learning outside the classroom.

When examining state assessment data and the Iowa School Performance Profiles report, we can see that our strategies are working.

Our Innovative Campus which offers flexible learning for students in 5-12 grade completed its first full year this school year. Students have the opportunity to personalize their learning in a hybrid model on and off-campus.

Combined with the Carrie Lane High School students at the newest campus earned more than 500 high school credits for graduation.

Additionally, we would like to send a special thanks to Don Betts for his 27 years of service to Carrie Lane High School. He was recognized at the Alternative Ed Conference for his many years of leadership and dedication to his students.

This was also the first full year of Lincoln and Washington Elementary Schools implementing Leader in Me. The program provides opportunities for student leadership roles and academic goal setting.

As we reflect on a year of growth, we are grateful for the progress we have made. We are also keeping an eye on the future as we look for ways to leverage our successes to overcome the challenges ahead.



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