The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 22, 2014

Test scores up at Van Buren schools

KEOSAUQUA — Scores on the Iowa Assessment tests soared this year for most of the classes taking them at Van Buren Community School District.

“We are very pleased,” said Mary Dawn Schuck, curriculum coordinator. “We’re kind of speechless.” The number of students proficient in reading jumped as high as 34 percent in one class, she stated.

“Normally, we can expect growth from one year to the next around 10 percent,” she said. “We had kids with 50-point growth. We’re thrilled.”

The school has been emphasizing better reading proficiency in their curriculum the past couple of years. Schuck said it is starting to pay dividends in improved achievement, citing the fifth grade.

“Of the 43 students who took the test, there are more (18) students who are regarded as advanced proficient than proficient (16). That’s wonderful.”

Scores in math and science proficiency also showed increases. “The kids really stepped up,” said secondary principal Chuck Banks. “We’re very happy with the effort of staff, parents and students.”

Schuck said the results had just been released this week and she hadn’t had time to “dig into the individual data too much and will do that in the coming days.”

In other action and discussion:

• Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell updated the board on the new school calendar, which could be for 180 days or 1,080 hours. She will bring a proposal to the March meeting.

• Ewell suggested the board look at leasing buses instead of purchasing them.

Leasing involves a three-year term and then a balloon payment at the end and selling it back.

“It keeps our fleet newer and there are less repairs,” Ewell said. “Money for the lease comes out of the PPEL and money from the sale goes into the general fund. I haven’t analyzed every piece, but I think it’s worth looking at.” She said the company which leases the buses would pay Van Buren personnel to do maintenance.

Text Only
Local News
  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

  • Civil War Round Table visited by baseball historian OTTUMWA — The Civil War Round Table was treated to a special guest Thursday night and a presentation about how baseball during the Civil War era helped shape Iowa as we know it. John Liepa, former history and political science professor at Des Moines

    April 18, 2014

  • Three-day forecast Today ... Sunny, with a high near 76. Breezy, with a southeast wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Tonight ... Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Breezy, with a south wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Sunday ... Partly su

    April 18, 2014

  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints