Atlantic Community Schools selected as a “Breaking Barriers” District


October 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Community School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Amstein, Tuesday, announced the district has been selected by the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) for a “Breaking Barriers to Learning and Teaching” Award. The award is presented each year to those districts which make major progress in closing gaps in student achievement, by improving instruction, curriculum and programs for students, and professional development opportunities for school staff.

Amstein says the IDOE analyzed achievement scores from the Fall of 2010. The Atlantic School District had two instances of significant decrease in the achievement gap in the subgroups. The subgroups include English Language Learner (ELL), Individualized Education Plans (IEP), or Socio-Economic Status (SES). Districts earn the Breaking Barriers award if they saw proficiency in math or reading improve by at least 20% among two or more subgroups of students, while not allowing a decline of more than 5% in any other subgroup of students.

Amstein says the Atlantic School District received recognition for its efforts in reducing the achievement gap in the third-grade reading, SES group, and in 6th grade reading, between the SES group and the general academic peer groups. He says he applauds the administrators and teachers across the district for their efforts to narrow the achievement gap, especially as they prepare for another round of Iowa Assessment Tests later this month and in November.

The award will be presented to school board member Phil Hascall, on behalf of the district, on November 16th, at the Iowa Association of School Boards’ Annual Convention at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  Amstein says the award is a great honor for the district, and it reinforces the boards’ focus on instruction in the classroom.