LIGNITE — According to the State Department of Public Instruction, there are 22 schools they consider to be under-performing.
One school that was on the list has now made a complete turn around.
Burke Central Schools have about 90 students. Some of which had reading levels that raised a red flag for the state — putting the school on the Targeted Support and Improvement program.
“It’s a designation for where your students are academically. That’s bottom line. Your scores aren’t where they should be,” said Superintendent Rick Lindblad.
The state defines an under-performing school as being in the bottom 10 percent for three consecutive years. That’s where he came in.
Mr. Lindblad said when he was hired he knew he had work to do, but this situation wasn’t new to him.
He added, “I’ve had jobs like this before. I specialized in it as a principal so I just looked at what we were doing and our schedule and we made some changes in our programs.”
When placed on the improvement system, schools can apply for $50,000 a year to help purchase programs to help get them on track—and one person said those were exactly the tools they needed.
“In the past, we have done the daily five and accelerated reader, which are great programs. The things was we had no data, we had no way of gauging where our kids were at,” said Holly Chrest, teacher.
The new program helped teachers see what areas students needed to improve in, and within a year the school was taken off of the improvement plan.
The teacher of 15 years said not only has this made a difference academically but also in the community.
She added, “I think the parents can see it and the community because they are more involved. If kids can read we have them involved in church activities and different things. So I just think overall it makes them better students.”
Of those 22 schools, 15 are in Western North Dakota. At the end of each year, schools are re-evaluated to see if they have made enough improvement.
Each year the school is on the list, they are able to apply for the $50,000 grant.