As a computer lab teacher at Milan Elementary in New Mexico, Jane Williams helps students—and teachers—get the most out of technology. Williams supports the many Renaissance® products used at the school, offering troubleshooting and tips on accessing and reading reports.
She can’t wait to share the latest capabilities in Star Assessments with her fellow teachers. “I’m excited about the changes in Star and feel that the new reports will be very beneficial to our students, staff, and parents,” said Williams, who recently attended professional development on the updates. “The validity and ease of creating reports is crucial to our school district. We rely on this data for so many reasons in today’s educational setting.”
One of those reasons is ensuring that students are on track for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Williams is responsible for running growth reports for demographic groups that the school monitors. This information is used for Milan Elementary’s Educational Plan for Student Success (EPSS), a data- and achievement-based strategic improvement plan that serves as another guide in helping children reach AYP.
Williams said that while progress monitoring reports have been used in the past, Star’s new Annual Progress Report, State Standards Report, and State Performance Report provide invaluable visuals of how students, classes, and the district are doing.
“We can now group our students according to state standards as well as to the Star test,” Williams said. “The reports help everyone—students, teachers, and parents—see exactly what needs to happen to reach proficiency and above on state tests.”
Milan Elementary is part of a community with four prisons and a high student-mobility rate among the schools in the district. The Star programs are used regularly for screening and monitoring student progress. These quick assessments give valuable information to the teachers in meeting student needs, helping them easily identify and track students for various reading and math groups.
Williams said that Star’s reporting features take that value to the next level. “The Instructional Planning Reports and learning progressions are an immense help to teachers with the grouping and skill recommendations they provide,” Williams said.
“They support individual student instruction plans that are developed for struggling readers.” Lesson planning is further simplified with the learning progressions, which pinpoint the skills students need to understand the lesson and offer instant access to worked examples and sample math problems.
“Teachers don’t have to scramble to locate examples on their own. They can easily search for resources on specific skills by keyword,” Williams said. “Having worksheets readily available for struggling students is a benefit as well.”
The Star reports also give teachers access to data while at home, offering greater lesson planning convenience. Williams sees good things ahead for Milan Elementary, and says Renaissance professional development is paving the way.
“Printing the reports and studying the data to make instructional changes are key to our students’ success. It’s important that we use the programs correctly and consistently throughout the whole school,” Williams said. “Training has always been professional, informative, pertinent, and fun, and we leave each in-service with valuable information and tools we can begin using the very next day.”