News updated April 21, 2000
 District Report Card and Its Impact on Access Plus
The Ohio Department of Education recently released the 1998-99 proficiency testing results in the form of a District Report Card. This District Report Card was mailed to all families having children in the public schools. Have you seen your District's Report Card? You can read it online at ODE or request a copy from your school district. The Report Card will tell you where your district ranked on meeting the 27 standards for being an effective school district. If the district received 25 or below they must develop a continuous improvement plan. This plan must include input from other community members and organizations. This is another opportunity "to get our foot in the door," by offering to be part of that continuous improvement plan with the Access Plus program.
 Use the Summer as Another Push for Access Plus
Now that the Proficiency Tests are completed for all grades, it is a good time to build on Access Plus. Districts must provide remediation during the summer for students who do not pass the proficiency test. The district might welcome the support Access Plus provides for this remediation.
 "Happenings" with Access Plus Programming
  • Flyer in Spanish created to advertise Access Plus
  • Information about Access Plus in The Plain Dealer, local newspapers, PTO
    bulletins and principals' newsletters
  • Announcements about Access Plus and informational meetings for parent and
    students in Library publications and on many web sites
  • Proficiency resources located together for easy access by students and
    parents, picture of area put in library publication
  • Bookmarks from the parent handouts created and distributed
  • Notebooks of each resource developed for each school library, a flyer
    distributed to students on the materials available in school and the public
  • School District includes Public Library in "Pizza Party" for 4th grade
    parents and student to learn about proficiency testing and available support.
    Local pizza parlor donated and demonstrated pizza making.
  • Regional Libraries in Ohio request and contract to learn about Access Plus:
    Partnerships for Proficiency in order to develop similar programming.
 Virtual Middle School Project
 Competitive grants were awarded to 48 teachers by the Department of Education to develop a thematic remedial sixth grade summer school course tied to Sixth Grade Proficiency Test Outcomes. Each winner is to teach the course online to at least 15 student during the summer of 2000. To find out the names of the winners and the school districts go to and search in Schoolnet under Virtual Middle School. There are several teachers and districts which are part of the Access Plus area.
 The Natural partnership: Schools and Libraries!
The School District needed space (preferably air-conditioned) for a summer program in mathematics and science. The Library had the space. The School District had the money to purchase the resources. The Library knew how to manage these resources. The School District had the personnel to run the program in the library. The Library said, "Welcome!"
This was the beginning of a collaboration which through the years has been refined and developed to meet the needs of the children it serves. The school personnel work during the summer in the library with materials either loaned (the computers) or given (the resources) to the library for the school's program. The parents and children can then use these resources throughout the year.
 Proficiency "Pep Talks" Boost Lakewood Students
By Ed Rossman, Supervisor, Technology Center, Lakewood Public Library

Lakewood Library's Technology Center has ten stations equipped with special software from Englefield and Arnold for the 4th, 6th and 9th grade proficiency tests. This software walks a student through each of the main test areas, offers sample multiple choice questions, reviews test taking strategies and allows them to print a take home test. Despite publicity in the schools and in PTA bulletins, we only had 1-2 students per month using the software.

In the weeks prior to the test, local schools were contacted as to whether or not they would like a library staff member to come to the classes and speak to them about using the special software (which the schools did not have).

Due to scheduling conflicts, only one school was able to allow the staff to come in. Harding Middle School brought 2 groups into assembly, allowing me to talk to 175 6th graders.

Normally, students are only allowed to sign up for one hour of time in the Technology Center. I gave each student a numbered ticket to allow them one extra hour.

I positioned the speech as a Proficiency "Pep-talk." I complimented the students on their efforts so far, told them that we at the library fully supported them, explained what kind of great computers we had, how easy the test software was to use, and how they could use the tickets to either prepare for the tests, or use them in the weeks afterwards to "chill out", by having more quality recreational time in the Center.

I explained that for each practice test turned in completed, we'd give them another ticket. Since the practice tests only took about 20 minutes, getting an extra hour is a good return on the effort involved!

There was an immediate spike in the use of the software. Two-three students came in a night in the week before the test, and at least one came in each night during Proficiencies week. I'm certain that if we would have had time to reach all the schools, the lab would have been used to its fullest capacity.

Oddly enough, not a lot of students have turned in tickets for extra time. It seems that just the appearance in front of the students, announcing that we have a good study aid for them and that we're there to help, was enough to compel some students to visit us. Extra tickets didn't really draw them in, but was a great device to gain attention and show we supported them.

The teachers appreciated the effort as well. The team leader for Proficiency testing at Harding said that it was helpful for the kids to see someone from outside the school community come in to talk to them, and that the messages of encouragement and support went a long way.

Next year we plan to start this program in the fall to have enough time to reach all the schools in our area. Depending on the test software usage and with more time to acquire "incentives" from local area retailers, we may also go into the schools one month ahead of the tests rather than the week before. Some schools indicated going in the week before would be putting "too much pressure" on an already stressed student population. Recognizing that, we will strive to go in earlier when the stress levels are lower, and encourage them to prepare for the tests and at the same time earn tickets to have more fun at the Library!


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