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Mason City High School Continuing a Tradition of Academic Achievement

From the Mason City School District –

As we complete registration for a new school year and make final preparations for a new one, it is a perfect time to reflect on last year. As the students and staff worked through cafeteria and music room relocation because of construction it was apparent as a community we are resilient. The remodeling of John Adams Middle School, kitchen/cafeterias, music wing, and the new entrance off of highway 122 looks amazing and we are excited for the new educational environments that are more conducive to learning along with being more welcoming and safer. Construction transitioning will occur for one more year as the FEMA room is opened at the end of fall and the academic two story wing is completed next summer. Like last year, teaching and learning will take place and we will continue the tradition of success at Mason City High School.

This past year we again experienced success in athletics and music. This is a sense of pride for us as a school, for our students, parents, and the community. We were also recently informed that our yearbook was selected for the Walsworth “Gallery of Excellence.” This is not only a huge honor for the students, but is extra special as the students volunteer their time to the yearbook club as it meets outside the normal school day. A huge thank you goes to Carla Miller for being a parent-volunteer as our yearbook advisor. She has put in countless hours and our students have benefited from her generosity and hard work.

Some of the other highlights from last year include the graduation rate of 92.7% which was again higher than the state average.

– Also, the University of Iowa’s Belin Blank Center recognized Mason City High School for ranking 41 in the top 50 Advanced Placement (AP) index for all high schools in Iowa. This is the second year in a row; last year was the first time the school was recognized since the program began. The school also witnessed increases in the percent of 11th graders proficiency on the Iowa Assessments.
– In 11th grade reading the school saw 86.4 percent of the students proficient which is an increase of 1%. The sub-group of special education students also witnessed large improvements pertaining to percent of students proficient.
– In 11th grade math the school scored 85.5% percent of its students proficient which is an increase of 4%. Again the sub-groups of special education along with free/reduce lunch students saw major gains.
– The 11th grade Science scores for student proficiency were equally impressive at 88.1%. Almost all public 4A high schools are classified under NCLB as Schools-In-Need of Assistance (SINA) for at least sub-group scores. As a school, we are proud to announce that all but one sub-group in reading met the proficiency targets set by the state. Mason City High School was extremely close to being one of the first public 4A high schools in the state to make it off of the SINA list for overall school achievement and all sub-groups. In actuality, MCHS showed academic achievement that rivals the top 4A academic institutions in the state.

Recently MCHS received the overall ACT scores for the students who elected to participate in the test. The school had the second highest number of participants in comparison to the last 5 years. There were 158 participants resulting in an increase of 32 more students than the year before. The ACT is scaled so that a perfect score would be a 36. The school achieved the highest ACT composite score since 2008 with a 22.6. The scores on all tests (English, reading, math, and science) were all above the state average. MCHS ranged from 22 (math) to a 22.9 (reading) on the ACT. It is exciting for one more piece of evidence displaying improved academic achievement and also is another indicator of how well staff is preparing students to be successful in post-secondary education.

Other indicators that were reviewed pertained to student discipline, student safety, and attendance. The school saw an approximate 30% decrease in the number of students removed from class for discipline reasons. The 11th grade students also took the Iowa Youth Survey which showed that 100% of the students surveyed felt safe at school. The student attendance rate was 91.3% which we will look to improve on this coming year. As we continue to work for improvement, we are happy with the gains that have been made.

We thank our staff for the countless hours they put in last year, we thank the parents for their encouragement and teamwork, and we thank the students for taking pride in their learning and their school. All involved have also done an amazing job of working through the construction transition, being flexible and displaying patience during this time. As the number of families struggling with the economy has increased it is great to see the continual work within Mason City Schools is paying off by focusing on learning and preparing our students for college/work place.

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