The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Don Ogle 

Sidney Schools Test High Against State


December 13, 2017

Sidney schools are among the top in the state, according to recently released reports released by the Cheyenne County School District #1 (Sidney).

The report shows Sidney test results are consistently higher than state averages.

“We’re a little higher than the state, and Nebraska averages a little higher than the U.S. average,” Sidney Superintendent Jay Ehler said last week.

Ehler shared the report with the School Board at its regular monthly meeting Monday. It shows in nearly all areas, Sidney surpasses the state average test score. Scores are from annual student testing.

Sidney, which gives the ACT Test to all students, shows students in English, Math and Science are more ready for college than those across the state. As juniors, 54 percent of Sidney students reach the college benchmark for expected success, compared to 39 percent statewide. Sidney is also several percentage points ahead in Math and Science.

With a 95 percent graduation rate, a high percentage of Sidney students go on to college, with 79 percent in either a two-year or four-year school.

Ehlers told the Sun-Telegraph that school officials use the test results as one measure of evaluating classes and programs. He said adjustments can be made to programs and practices if needed to help better prepare Sidney students for success beyond high school.

The testing, he said, shows how the school is doing in two areas - seeing how they compare in learning over time, and also from a growth perspective.

“This shows we’re going pretty well in both areas,” Ehler said.

Although not shown in the current report, Ehler said Sidney also uses another set of tests, NWEA to further evaluate individual student needs and success.

“That helps teachers to know the kids better and focus on their needs,” Ehler said. He said teachers can use the results to adjust focus on both individual and class needs.

When the report was presented to the board, once question was in relation to cost-per-student. Over the years Sidney has had lower costs per student, but last year’s figures show they have become very close to the same. Ehler explained that as large districts grow, costs are spread out more, bringing their cost-per-student down.

In 2016-17, Sidney’s cost-per-student was $12,126 vs. $12,230 for the state average.


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