Sep 27, 2011 7:42 PM by Marnee Banks
An independent consulting firm says Helena students are falling short in math and reading.
The Helena School District has hired a consulting firm to analyze how Helena students are doing compared to other large Montana districts.
Lead Researcher for the Council of Chief State School Officers Christopher Lohse says the area for most concern is mathematics.
"I find that Helena has an enormous challenge around even grade 3 performance in mathematics," Lohse says.
Lohse says by 8th grade Helena students are catching up with the other Montana schools in math scores. Lohse also reports Helena is about average in science but reading is a secondary area of concern.
"When compared with your peers Helena is appearing to struggle a little bit more than most other districts," Lohse says.
Interim Superintendent Keith Meyer says the School Board and school administration will use the data to craft a plan to help students succeed.
"Our overall goal is of course increased achievement and graduation rates but then looking at specific concerns in the academic areas of math and reading," Meyer says.
Meyer says the information will also help the district as it's searching for a new superintendent.
"So it will be important information that he or she as candidates look at the district and decide to make application for the superintendent's position it'll be information that they should be asking about," Meyer says.
Last school year 11 of Helena's 16 schools failed to meet No Child Left Behind standards .