Wilmington City Schools employs district data director to help track learning gaps


WILMINGTON — To help provide teachers with information about their students’ pandemic-related gaps in learning, Wilmington City Schools (WCS) will employ a district data administrator.

The WCS Board of Education approved Nick Neary for a two-year contract, effective Aug. 1.

“Using the data is even more important now than ever because we’re not sure exactly where those learning gaps are for our students,” Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said after Monday’s board meeting.

“So, he’s really going to help us with selecting those benchmark assessments; in making sure it’s high-quality student data we’re looking at; in making informed instructional decisions; and then really coaching our administrators and our teachers in that work throughout the district,” added McCarty-Stewart.

Those benchmark assessments “provide teachers with information about which content standards have been mastered and which require additional instruction, identifying students’ strengths and needs,” according to the website of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NEA).

Neary currently is the data and analysis coach at Wilmington Middle School, a position funded through a School Quality Improvement Grant. Come fall and the new school year, he will be district-wide, serving preschool through grade 12.

The remainder of the School Quality Improvement Grant money will be expended toward his work, and then he will be paid through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds contained in federal legislation that responds to the pandemic with aid, relief and economic stimulus dollars.

In a principal’s report to the board, Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel said staffers in the grades 3-through-5 building are continuing their work with students’ social and emotional learning. That has included lessons about positive self-talk, and further, wanting the children to express themselves in a positive light.

The young students were encouraged to write about why they matter in the school building and why they matter in this world, and to name some traits about themselves.

It is really nice to see these intermediate elementary students in grades 3 to 5 have that positive tone about themselves, said Karshner-Rethmel, because a lot of times when staff talks to the students, the students don’t exhibit or convey a positive self-image.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Denver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel gives her report to the school board.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/04/web1_principal.jpgDenver Place Elementary Principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel gives her report to the school board. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

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