School Report April

Superintendent Steve Hanson · Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Spring sports are fully underway: girls’ and boys’ golf, girls’ and boys’ track and girls’ and boys’ soccer. We also have various concerts and other school activities scheduled between now and the end of the school year. See, or our school website, for full schedule details.

In March, the Iowa Department of Education published the graduation rates for the Class of 2013. The graduation rate for the WLHS Class of 2013 was 92.00%; the rate for the state of Iowa was 89.68%. Thank you parents, community members and school employees for all the ways you contributed to the success of the Class of 2013. Here is a table of graduation rates from some of the schools in our area:

Another indicator of the success of our students is the postsecondary enrollment rate. Notice in the data below that postsecondary enrollment rates for the WLCSD Class of 2011 exceed the state rates for all subgroups except females.

Many thanks to the University of Iowa and the Hancher organization for bringing Sones de México to the area and arranging for them to spend two whole days in West Liberty. The group gave two concerts to our elementary students and spent an entire day working with the students in art and music classes. They also provided concerts for the middle school and high school students, as well as a free concert open to the public.

WLHS was one of 30 schools selected to receive $1,000 for participation in the 2013-14 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge. The cash award is intended to benefit each high school in two ways: improve or continue financial literacy education, and supplement the school's scholarship fund.

Twenty-one students from WLHS and WLMS represented West Liberty at “River Valley Conference Honor Band,” on March 25 at West Branch High School. These students rehearsed for six hours with over two hundred of their peers under the direction of guest conductors Scott Muntefering and David Law before performing a public concert that evening at 7 p.m. The students selected to participate in the RVC Honor Band underwent an extensive nomination and selection process in January. 

Ross Brown, Zach Archer, Ina Haskell, Grace Millage, Mikayla Ward, Jazmyn Partida, Leo Villarreal, Chris Rodriguez and Juan Dominguez all did a great job March 27-29 as cast members in the play “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Thanks to all who helped: John Archer and Ron Haskell, Oliva Smith, Jennifer Partida, Jose Calderon, Yadira Rocha, Gerice Stillman and Ms. Weiss’ photography and graphic design class. And, most of all, to Director Ned Kelly!

Grades 1, 4 and 5 presented spring concerts on March 27 at the elementary school. We would like to recognize the following people for their contributions: Jill Page and Barb Wilcox (video and sound), Sydney Millage (accompanist) and Robin Evans (music teacher).

It was another great day for the music department at the IHSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival in Durant on April 5. According to our high school band and vocal music teachers, Ashley Smith and Nathan Shivers, every student attending the festival represented West Liberty with poise, maturity and excellent musicianship. Many of our students earned “Division I” ratings (the highest possible). According to the IHSMA rubric, a Division I rating is described as "A superior performance. Outstanding in nearly every detail."

The following vocal music students earned Division I (Superior) ratings at the IHSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival: Zach Archer, Ina Haskell, Alyssa Schemmel, Kayla Smith, Ceriece Stillman, Leo Villarreal, Mikayla Ward (vocal solos); Ryan Alpen, Zach Archer, Jose Calderon, Juan Dominguez, Ina Haskell, Maggie Mathias, Noel Palma, Jazmyn Partida, Kayla Smith, Leo Villarreal, Mikayla Ward (chamber choir). These vocal music students earned Division II (Excellent) ratings: Yesenia Cardenas, Luke Dennis, Juan Dominguez, Kane Newsom, Jazmyn Partida, Clarissa Sanchez (vocal solos). Leo Villareal was chosen by the judges as the best vocal music performer of the day (Best of Center). He is invited to perform at the Best of Center Showcase in Ames on May 14.

The following instrumental music students earned Division I (Superior) ratings: Yesenia Cardenas, Adriana Dominguez, Clarissa Sanchez, Leo Villarreal (saxophone quartet); Alyssa Schemmel, Luz Martinez, Maggie Devore-Mathias, Leo Villarreal, Josue Romero (clarinet quintet); Clarissa Sanchez (tenor saxophone solo). These instrumental music students earned Division II (Excellent) ratings: Ryan Kloser (tuba solo); Breonna McMahon (percussion solo).

We are proud of 8th grade student Elias Rocha (grade 8) who competed in the State Geography Bee at UNI.

The final parent-teacher conferences for the year are scheduled for April 23 at the high school. On April 24, the elementary school is hosting an event called “Celebration of the Arts.” The Early Learning Center (ELC) will have a parent-child dance on April 25; high school students will attend the junior-senior prom on April 26. On April 27, many of our FFA students will leave for the state convention; we anticipate they will win gold in various categories, which we will report next month.

Our final school improvement advisory council meeting of the year is scheduled for April 22. The Local School Improvement Advisory Committee (LSIAC) makes recommendations regarding educational needs, student learning goals and behavioral goals (such as bullying prevention).  LSIAC plays an important role in helping the district determine our level of success at meeting the goals.  In addition to the advisory role, committee members serve as important links to other members of the community, informing them and gathering questions and concerns to bring to the committee.

In West Liberty, our LSIAC meets four times per year:  1) in August or September to review and give feedback on the school improvement plan; 2) in November to share observations made during half-day experiences shadowing students; 3) in March to examine the data related to graduation and dropout rates, as well as postsecondary enrollment rates; and 4) in April to analyze the results of the Iowa Assessments.  Our students benefit from the thoughts and ideas shared during these four annual meetings, as LSIAC members reflect on the data.
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