Despite a dip in test scores during the pandemic-related lockdowns, Hollister test scores exceeded state scores and experienced an increase in scores from 2019 to 2021.
The details are included in a press release below plus an interview from the "Mornings with Josh Grisham" program on MY 100.1:
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released the results of the 2021 spring Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and the Hollister R-V School District is celebrating.
In an email sent to parents, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Mrs. Sandy Leech, says, “We want you to know how proud we are of your children! Our students and teachers have worked hard to reach the rigorous academic standards that these assessments cover. They have also persevered in their learning throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and adapted well to continuous changes in the assessment program.”
After a year of COVID, school shutdowns, virtual learning, and a year without testing, many schools across the country saw a decline in state test scores in the 2021 testing cycle. The Hollister School District not only exceeded state scores but saw an increase in its scores from 2019 to 2021. Hollister students scored above the state average in 14 of 18 overall tested areas and improved from 2019 testing in 15 of 18 overall tested areas.
Leech shares that there are many factors that played into the success of Hollister students. She attributes the district’s decision to move forward with teaching 4th quarter standards when schools were forced to switch to online learning in the spring of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the district’s decision to bring students back to campus for two sessions of summer school during the summer of 2019 as two key factors. But ultimately, she says that the teachers, students, and their parents were the true driving force. “Overnight, our teachers had to learn to teach their students through a computer. And not just review previously taught material but move forward with teaching new material. Our teachers became Zoom masters, made weekly phone calls to students and parents, and made themselves available through email and other forms of communication to ensure that when students had questions or needed additional help with material, they were there. The dedication and perseverance of our teachers during the spring of 2020 made such a huge impact on our success moving forward.” Leech goes on to say, “Our students and their parents' commitment to learning in the midst of a pandemic played a vital role as well. Our teachers provided the material, the lessons, and the resources, but ultimately it was up to each family to take ownership of the learning on their end of the computer.”
Following the “school shutdown” in the spring of 2020, the Hollister R-V School District re-opened campus for their first session of summer school on May 27, 2020, with the last day of their second session of summer school on July 31. In the fall of 2020, Hollister had only a small percentage of students enrolled in virtual learning. Leech says that having the majority of their students in seated classes with their teacher was also a key factor. “The number one indicator of student success is quality teachers. Students need to be in the classroom with their teacher.”
While the district is celebrating, they also know that State assessments are only one way to ensure they are meeting the needs of students. “We use many different assessments – at the classroom, school, district, and state levels – to make critical decisions about instruction, interventions and support, and district policies,” Leech says. “We are committed to ensuring that all children in our district are prepared for success, and we look forward to continuing a great school year.”
The interview conducted by MY 100.1's Josh Grisham of Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Sandy Leech and Superintendent Dr. Brian Wilson can be heard below: