Lakeview High School Forensic Team shines in competition, ACT scores up

Posted by Mike Taylor • Last Updated 9:32 am on Tuesday, April 16 2013

Lakeview High School Principal Gary Jensen displayed some of the awards the school has earned in the past few years at Monday evening’s regular school board meeting. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

LAKEVIEW — Things are definitely looking up for students and staff at Lakeview High School, both in the academic and extra-curricular areas.

At Monday evening’s school board meeting, board members got a chance to hear firsthand from some of the students who — for the fifth year in a row — brought home the CSAA League Championship. The forensic program, under the leadership of Chris Bayne and Carolyn Gleason, consistently shines in competitions.

Forensic team member Chris Moss showed board members his winning presentation on the Boy Scouts of America, explaining the merit badge system and the different ranks within Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Lakeview High School Forensic Team member Chris Moss shared his presentation on the Boy Scouts of America at Monday’s regular board meeting. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Team member Cheyanne Rector recited the poem that earned her a first place All-Conference win at the championship. Several other students who took part in the competition also were on hand to receive accolades from Lakeview High School Principal Gary Jensen.

Lakeview High School Forensic Team member Cheyanne Rector recites part of the play that earned her a first place at this year’s All Conference competition. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

“We feel very blessed and we’re happy to have these kids out representing us,” Jensen said. “We’ve gotten first place five years in a row and we’re pretty proud of that.”

That Wildcat Pride extends beyond extracurricular activities, however; test scores at the high school continue to rise across the board in every subject. Though Jensen said there’s still room for improvement, the gains seen over the past few years are impressive.

Jensen displayed several ACT test “data sheets,” which clearly indicated strong school wide improvements in student test scores in every grade.

Jensen credited at least some of these gains to the school’s emphasis on the reading program there.

“We’re really targeting the reading,” Jensen said. “The kids that can read very well score very well on these tests.”

Some of that improvement lies in the school’s implementation of the EBLI (Evidence Based Learning Instruction) system, which has proven to be very effective in improving student reading skills.

“The EBLI system has made a big difference in the students’ vocabularies,” Jensen noted. “All our composite numbers for our juniors are the highest we’ve ever hit at Lakeview High School. It’s been an unbelievable turnaround in the past three years. We believe we’re making some big moves.”

Board President Ed Jonaitis complimented the staff and students, saying that the recent upswing in scores is a “great example of the good things going on in our district.”

Superintendent Kyle Hamlin was likewise effusive in his praise of the job being done at the high school.

“Enough can’t be said for the high school staff,” Hamlin said. “Those scores are high, but the students themselves are growing. It’s truly impressive. Our data for the students is going in absolutely the right direction.”

In other business, the board declined to take part for the time being in an early college program that would have benefitted only a few high school students at a cost of several thousand dollars to the district in lost state revenue.

The board likewise decided to hold off on participating in West Michigan Virtual Academy, an online program similar to one already in place in the district.

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