Improving freshman on-track graduation is one of the UT school district's three goals

Improving freshman on-track graduation is one of the UT school district's three goals

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EAST MOLINE — The United Township School District is focused on its student's current and future success.

At its Oct. 21 board meeting, District 30 formally set its goals for the coming school year.

  • Investigate expanding and formalizing career pathways.
  • Continue to improve upon student interventions through the Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS), specifically improving freshman on-track graduation.
  • Investigate alternatives to the current student class rank system.

The board hosted a forum Monday night to discuss the class rank situation.

Regarding the first two goals UTHS is already making efforts there, Morrow explained.

“We are trying to align everything to where students are coming out with the value-added piece of education,” Morrow said.

“Dual Credit is a big piece of our value-added education where students have an opportunity to graduate from UT with 15 to 18 credit hours of college credit.”

Another area they are looking at bringing more value-added to is the career center.

The plan is to have students obtain some sort of certification that might help them get jobs.

“For example in our automotive repair class, coming out with some type of certificate that students can use to get jobs or get some type of entryway into mechanics jobs,” he said.

The nursing program at UT is a current example of where the dual-credit program has added value.

“Right now we have in our nursing program, a dual credit program with Black Hawk,” Morrow said. “(UT students) can earn about 12 hours towards their associate's degree in nursing. So we are just trying to formalize and pair up certificate programs with the course sequence they are in.”

The second goal for the current school year is continuing to improve upon student interventions with the multi-tier system of support (MTSS), specifically improving freshman on-track graduation.

Making sure freshmen are on track to graduate is one of the state’s measurements of a school district’s success.

“Our number isn’t really solid,” Morrow admitted. ”We want to basically get more interventions in place where if students are failing at this time of year at the freshman level, what can we do to intervene to help prevent that kid from failing.

“We have a lot of things in the works that are working right now that hopefully will reduce that freshman failure rate.”

Among the things already in place that Morrow believes will help are three additional hires last year. They include an additional counselor and two mental health professionals, one from Robert Young and one from another mental health firm.

It’s somewhat a continuation of last year’s goals to investigate and improve social and emotional wellness for the students, he said of the effort to improve freshmen staying on track to graduate.

The MTSS process is to identify students that are struggling through a variety of referrals from teachers and counselors.

“Then we try to make interventions with that,” he said. “Whether that is meeting with parents, getting them additional tutoring help or additional counseling help to help them through a rough patch.”

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