Banner County School receives federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The purpose of Title I-A is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.
Teachers work collaboratively with administration and student support personnel from the ESU to identify effective instructional programs, identify specific learning needs for students experiencing challenges, and seeking out appropriate programs and/or instructional technologies to support learning. Consultation and communication with parents, community partners, and students are strategies that have proven successful in developing and maintaining instructional programs that meet the needs of diverse learners, while implementing well-rounded and authentic instruction in all content areas.
The district utilizes reading and math assessment data to identify student growth and to assess instructional strategies to support learning. Both DIBELS and MWEA MAP data are used to determine student progress at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Annual state assessments are also considered, but as data are not available in time to implement program changes in a timely manner for students, the results are analyzed as an additional data point for overall monitoring of student progress.
Students who are identified as at risk or below grade-level in either reading or math receive additional instruction individually or within a small group setting. Supplemental instruction is provided until students meet or exceed learning benchmarks as identified on local and standardized assessments.
Students receive supplemental instruction based on their learning needs as identified through the Student Assistance Committee (SAC), Title I teachers, and the regular classroom teacher. Research-based strategies and/or programs are utilized to meet students' needs. Programs currently in use include Sonday, Reading Mastery, Accelerated Reader, Read Naturally, MobyMax, and GoMath.
All teachers at Banner County providing supplemental instruction are certified to teach in either the content area or the required grad-span. The district uses the Danielson Framework for Teaching as the evaluation instrument during classroom observations. All teachers have completed in-service training in the Danielson model and are provided with the observation rubric used during observations. Based on classroom observations, professional conversation during the post-observation conference, and analysis of student performance data, teachers and administrators develop a plan to meet the identified professional learning needs of the teacher. The district provides time for teachers to work with mentors or coaches, attend workshops and/or conferences, and purchases PD services as required.
The district engages parents and families through a number of activities, including: Annual Open House, Back to School Night, Community Supper, Parent-Teacher Conferences, One Act Dinner Supper, Winter and Spring Concerts, Carnival, Entrepreneur Sale, and by providing a meeting space for local clubs such as 4H and Kids' Club. Building strong partnerships through student, family, and community engagement enhances the educational experiences and opportunities of our students through networking opportunities, celebrating local culture, and making an authentic connection between success in school and success in life. Frequent whole-school events bring the elementary and high school students together to strengthen the sense of belonging and school pride, such as Pep Rallies and Healthy Schools activities. The district shares information through the monthly newsletter, the district web-site, phone communication system, local advertising, and frequent Facebook and Twitter posts. The school calendar is distributed in our newsletter and web-site. The lunch menu, which features locally raised beef and pork and also participates in Nebraska Thursdays, is distributed locally. Student and staff accomplishments are recognized each month at the Board of Education meeting.
Positive Learning Environment
One of the benefits of being a small district is the ability to build a positive climate and culture that contributes to shared values. Keeping students in the classroom is a priority. When disciplinary action is needed for behaviors that exceed acceptability, administration opts for In-School Suspension, in which students complete academic tasks, are monitored by a teacher or administrator, and lose the least amount of academic time possible. Disciplinary actions are tracked through the SIS and, when necessary, the Student Assistance Committee develop action or behavior modification plans to support students in making better choices.