SPLS NWEA Test Results

posted by News

St. Paul Lutheran School uses the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth as one tool for assessing student progress. Of course, teachers use other assessments and observations to develop a more complete picture of each child’s achievement and growth.

The performance of SPLS students in grades K-8 is compared to millions of other students all over Florida and across the nation. The norms used were established before the COVID-19 crisis and the shutting down of in-person learning in the spring of 2020. In light of this, we are particularly proud of the progress of our students.

Here are some highlights from the most recent NWEA MAP Growth tests on campus.

Compared to other classes across the nation at the same grade level:

  • K – 5th SPLS Math classes were in the top 11% nationwide.
  • K – 5th SPLS Reading classes were in the top 4% nationwide.
  • 3rd – 5th SPLS Language* classes were in the top 6% nationwide.
  • Middle School SPLS Math classes were in the top 19% nationwide.
  • Middle School SPLS Reading classes were in the top 10% nationwide.
  • Middle School SPLS Language classes were in the top 4% nationwide.

Compared to students across the nation:

  • 83% of K – 5th SPLS Math students were above national average
  • 88% of K – 5th SPLS Reading students were above national average
  • 86% of 3rd – 5th Language* students were above national average
  • 74% of Middle School SPLS Math students were above national average.
  • 86% of Middle School SPLS Reading students were above national average.
  • 87% of Middle School SPLS Language students were above national average.

*The language test is only administered to students in grades 3 and up.

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God and the Reality of Sickness

posted by News,Principal's Blog

Every day, we are sadly reminded that we live in a flawed world. And one of the most evident flaws is sickness.

As a Christian, I do not believe this is how God created this world. Now we do see much evidence of God’s amazing acts of creation. But I also believe that as humans turned from God and sought their own way, sin entered our world. And God’s perfect creation was inundated with the flaws you and I see and experience.

The more we know about things that cause disease, like bacteria and viruses, the more we realize that there was likely a very good reason for them being part of God’s creation. For example, we know the vast majority of bacteria are either harmless or helpful, and some are even necessary. There may be a similar case made for those mysterious bits of DNA known as viruses as we learn more about them.

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A Tough Teacher

posted by News,Principal's Blog

Dear parents and other readers, I have a confession to make. I was a terrible student through junior high and much of high school. Not terrible grade-wise. My grades were actually decent. Certainly I was not a poorly behaved student although bad jokes were part of my nature even way back then.

No, I was pretty terrible because I could skate. And skate I did. Until Miss Colby.

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Disciple or Apostle?

posted by News,Principal's Blog

Which are you? Which do you want your kids to be?

In the adult Bible class I lead we were looking at the three Gospel accounts listing the twelve disciples. What a ragtag group!

One of the interesting components of the gospel accounts is the use of the categories disciples and apostles. In Luke it talks about Jesus selecting twelve from among the many disciples and how he only called those his apostles. So while the terms seem interchangeable they apparently were not.

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Teaching is an Art

posted by News,Principal's Blog

As Dr. Oglialoro and I undertake annual classroom observations of teachers we are reminded again that teaching is so much more that what is learned in college education classes and in-service training. And that is why I say teaching is an art and excellent teachers are true artists.

Each artist is distinctive and unique. And so are teachers. Each artist has favorite media or techniques. Teachers have special gifts that vary from classroom to classroom.

It would be weird to say that one artist is not as good because his or her creation looks different or uses different colors or materials than some other artist. By the same token, teachers use different techniques and approaches that are unique to that teacher.

The art is judged based on it being pleasing to the eye or on its ability to stir emotion or thought. The work of a teacher is evidenced in student performance, for sure. But it is also measured in how the child grows as a learner, as a citizen, as a responsible and more self-directed person. At SPLS it is also measured in growing and deepening faith in God and His gift of a Savior, Jesus.


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What’s Happening to the Boys?

posted by News,Principal's Blog

For the past decade(s) schools have encouraged female students to expand educational horizons, to pursue interests that are outside the box of the traditional. That has been a good thing overall and it shows in statistics that indicate the majority of college students are female and even the majority in medical school are as well.

Unfortunately, sometimes it seems to build someone up there is a negative impact in others being put down. We see in schools that boys are facing some real challenges. No one would argue that the very system of education is particularly geared toward how boys’ brains work. But things have deteriorated in many ways for young men beyond the expectation to sit at a desk and do brain work.

It seems that in much of the culture that makes its way to TV screens and YouTube videos, young men are told they have all these unfair advantages. Yet in real life things are getting harder for them to be treated fairly and to be judged by their character rather than simply their gender. 

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Theme Stuff – Do You Get It?

posted by News,Principal's Blog

2019-2020 SPLS School Year Theme: All In


First Term: Dive In

Second Term: Dig In

Third Term: Abide in


Theme for the year? I get it. Do all in the name of Christ and do nothing halfway.

First Term? Makes sense. Let’s get started. Don’t hold back. As a student. As a child of faith.

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Can Traditions Cause Holidays Angst?

posted by News,Principal's Blog

  • Christmas Eve or Christmas morning for presents?
  • Early church service or candlelight service?
  • Santa presents wrapped or not wrapped?
  • Santa or no Santa?
  • Orange in the bottom of the Christmas stocking or not?
  • Her parent’s house or his?

Some co-workers were recently sharing the little conflicts over tradition that can become stressors, or even worse, battlegrounds.

It is ironic, but true, that a holiday that emphasizes God’s loving gift to us can become a point of argument.

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When to Speak Up

posted by News,Principal's Blog

Sharing a concern should be done thoughtfully and reasonably, be appropriately timed, and be done with an openness to hear additional information. Rarely has someone expressed a concern (after doing so in the manner above) to an honest, concerned leader or supervisor and had reason to regret doing so.

Many people, however, have regretted not expressing a thoughtful, reasonable concern when it becomes clear they had ample cause for doing so.

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But Wait, There’s More!

posted by Principal's Blog

That phrase has the potential to bring excitement to many as the infomercial announcer gushes over the latest product.

Unfortunately, the “more” also includes that reminder about a separate “shipping and handling” fee. Somehow the great deal is not so great when the added cost is almost as much as the price of the product.

For years the leaders of the Christian faith had more and more added “shipping and handling” costs to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, God looks on a believer as clean as long as she makes confession to the priest in just the right way. Sure, God has forgiven the repentant sinner as long as he says this many prayers. Naturally, God’s gift of a clean slate is provided to dead relatives as long as you donate to building St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. What? And grace comes to those who do not sin any more. Whoa!

You see how skewed things became?

It took reformers like Martin Luther to go back to God’s word, skipping all the pronouncements of Popes and Councils. What did they find? Words like these from St. Paul:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

I do not hear anything about a “shipping and handling” charge in there? Do you? Even the faith to believe God’s promises is a gift from Him.

Thankfully, I am not aware of infomercials for the Christian faith. But if they did exist, they would expound on all the great things God has done for us, especially through the work of Jesus Christ. The price would be FREE. And there would be no “shipping and handling” charge.

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

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