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Mason City schools update from T.J. Jumper, Director of Secondary Programs

From T.J. Jumper, Director of Secondary Programs

This last school year was a turbulent whirl wind in Mason City. There were so many highs and too many emotional lows for Mason City High School students and staff, parents, and the community. There were many lessons that we all learned, and the characteristics of togetherness, teamwork, flexibility, adversity, perseverance, and what it truly means to be a Mohawk were challenged.

There was a major focus on improving the school spirit at the high school, improving school discipline, improving educational programs and instruction, working to prepare students for life after high school, and the graduation rate. The student body led by the student senate did an amazing job of planning activities to help improve school spirit. With the faculty and staff cooperation, we had one of the largest homecoming dances in recent memory and the end-of-the-year fundraising efforts for “Relay for Life” was simply amazing. We also had many firsts with state appearances and state places. Finally, who could forget the dance moves of several staff members and administrators participating in a flash mob at the winter school assembly.

There are also multiple sources of data related to our other focus areas that need to be shared and celebrated as well. This past school year our average daily attendance (ADA) rate improved to 94.7%, this is close to a 2% increase with the biggest gains occurring with the freshman and juniors. MCHS also had approximately 400 less discipline referrals written resulting in a student being removed from class, with the freshman class having approximately 200 less than the year before. The senior class had less than 20 all year! These are extensive improvements and led to students being in class and receiving more instruction time.

This impact of higher ADA and less discipline situations contributed to improved academic data that has been reviewed for the school year. MCHS had approximately 200 fewer students earn a failing grade in a class which results in more students earning credits. This is impressive as academic expectations remained the same or increased at the building level, especially with opening up more rigorous classes to our freshman. The greatest news came recently from the Department of Education when we received our Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED) results and graduation rate information. The 11th grade test results are what the government uses to check adequate yearly progress (NCLB). This year Mason City High School witnessed some of the highest scores in school history for these particular tests. The students scored in the 80th percentile for proficiency on all three tests: math (81.4%), reading comprehension (85.4%), and science (89.1%). Having all three test areas in the 80% proficiency range is outstanding. The achievement gap is also closing with students considered at-risk showing an overall minimum gain of 7% increase in each of the three tested areas. The graduation rate also witnessed an improvement as the building improved by just over 6% to 93.8% which is much higher than the state average.

It is evident that Mason City High School is heading in the right direction. We are ecstatic with these results, but also know that we must continue to improve. These outstanding results would not have been possible without outstanding students, a diligent and hardworking faculty/staff, and supportive parents and community. It is definitely a time to be proud to be a Mohawk.

Educationally yours,
T.J. Jumper, Director of Secondary Programs
Mason City Community School District

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