Warsaw Community Schools students whose first language is not English met the progress goal for their English learning program.

World-class Instructional Design and Assessment is designed to help students kindergarten through 12th grade become proficient in English when it is not their first language.

Every January, English learning students take a test called WIDA 2.0, which tests the students’ reading, writing and composition. All tests are compounded and students are given one score, Dani Barkey, chief communication and accountability officer, told the Warsaw Community Schools Board on Tuesday.

If a student has a test score of 5.0 or less, that student qualifies for further teaching in the WIDA program, she said. Students who score higher than 5.0 no longer need the program.

The number of students exiting the WIDA program has more than doubled. In the 2017-18 school year, 28 of 612 students, or 4.58%, received a proficient score on the test. For 2018-19, 68 of 687 students testing, or 9.88%, had a proficient score.

“We would like to see 15% of students next year to be exited,” Barkey said.

Some factors help determine how fast a student may exit the program.

“If students are literate in their first language, it makes it that much easier to exit them,” she said. However, she has seen second-generation students who speak English and Spanish, but aren’t literate in either language; that makes it harder for those students.

Based on state standards, it should take students approximately six years to exit the program.

Barkey said services provided by the WIDA program are determined by how many students they have, not any future students that might come later in the school year.

“A couple years ago, we saw a large number of migrant students,” Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said about determining how much resources are needed in any given year. Demographics change when such things as adoption opportunities open up, he said.

To determine who needs the WIDA program, parents fill out a home language survey. Barkey said they spend a lot of time going through that with parents to make sure the information is accurate. Some parents think if they put Spanish as a first language, they’ll get in trouble, but that’s not the case.

Also during the work session, Sheila Howe, director of human services, presented updates to the school district’s handbook.

There will be three new handbooks, she said. “We’ve updated them all to make them have a new uniformity.”

If there is a policy that applies to certain areas, there will be a link online that takes people to that policy.

“Our handbooks are not the go-to for everything,” Howe said, but there will be links online to report such things as absences.

Howe said the district worked really hard on updating such things as employment and background information.

During the meeting, the board members also learned:

• Work on the playground at Eisenhower Elementary School will start on Friday.

• Asphalt and paint work is planned for the summer.

• Food services is down seven positions. Food services has been down between seven and 10 positions all school year.

• School lunch prices will not be increased for the fourth year in a row.

• The bleachers at the high school are getting replaced, as some of the top bleachers are loose.

• The progress of an elementary school literary pilot program by Dr. David Robertson, chief academic officer, who is looking to target first- and fourth-graders.