Rodeo steer captured at Sweetwater

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
A young steer escaped from the rodeo stock this weekend and led authorities on a merry chase through town. It was finally apprehended at Sweetwater Elementary School

The Sweetwater Dedication and Open House is slated for this Thursday, but one guest decided to crash the party early.

A steer escaped from the rodeo at Burdick Arena over the weekend and made it all the way to Sweetwater School before it was captured.

At the school board meeting Monday night, Superintendent Steve Swiontek said the steer was trapped in the entry way, but did not cause any major damage.

He said there were “a few hoof prints in the sod” and a small mess to clean up, but everything was taken care of before the students returned to school on Monday.

After a few relieved chuckles from the board members, it was time to get serious.

Swiontek gave a Power Point presentation on the state assessment and ACT results for 2009-2010.

“There are several items that I will be highlighting, these include both positive results and some areas that we need to work on,” he said.

All of the elementary schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), with reading scores rising in K-8 and math scores increasing at all grade levels, he said.

“In math, we made AYP in all buildings,” Swiontek said. “The scores were very good. In fact, they were excellent.”

Of some concern are the reading scores at the high school level and there was a decrease in the percentage of students reaching proficiency from the middle school to high school in both reading and math.

Swiontek said the principals are aware of the problems and are working toward increasing reading and comprehension in students.

Science is one area that is not included on the AYP report, but, Swiontek noted, it is still important to see how Devils Lake fares against the rest of the state. The elementary schools and high school numbers are nearly parallel with the state's figures, but the middle school showed 51 percent of the students were not proficient in science, compared with 38 percent across the state.

Swiontek said he would like to see more of an emphasis put on science and he wants more hands-on science in the classrooms.

“We want to get kids interested,” he said.

The last thing Swiontek wanted to discuss were the ACT scores for the class of 2010.

“These are some of the lowest scores I've seen... ever,” he said. “I'm a little concerned.”

The students dipped slightly in math compared to the previous year and the scores increased in science, but the reading and English scores had significant drops.

“I think we do a good job of teaching kids to read, I don't know if we're teaching them to comprehend,” said board member Kory Boehmer.

In other business, the board approved the 2010-2011 general fund budget in the amount of $18,885,795.09 and approved several smaller budgets.

The board also discussed the upcoming N.D. School Board Association Convention in Bismarck.

There are a number of resolutions that will be discussed at the convention, including Teachers' Fund For Retirement (TFFR), pay for performance, early childhood education and mandatory attendance age.

Board members were instructed to study the resolutions, which will be discussed at length at the next meeting.