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OC school system making the grade

OC school system making the grade

Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:02 pm
By: Chris Menees Messenger Staff Reporter

 By CHRIS MENEES Staff Reporter The Obion County School System is making the grade. Overall, Obion County did well on its 2009 Report Card from the Tennessee Department of Education, according to results pre-sented to the Obion County School Board during its monthly meeting Monday night at Lake Road Elemen-tary School. Obion County Director of Schools David Huss said taking into consideration all of the curriculum changes incorporated into this year’s report card, as well as the state’s recalculating of scores with new standards, Obion County’s report card “as a whole, was very good.” “I cannot say enough about the excellent staff that we have assembled,” Huss told the board. “All team members — instructional supervisors, school admin-istrators, teachers and sup-port staff — know and perform their respective duties in harmony and with unprecedented cooperation. All team members take pride in their performance and, best of all, care about each student that walks through the school doors every day. “In addition, the county commission has remained true in its dedication to education and deserves due credit in ensuring that our schools are adequately funded. It is my true belief that we have turned the tide and I expect that we will only get better with time. Our students deserve great praise and always seem to rise to the occasion and meet or exceed expectations set by their teachers,” he said. Overall review The report card results were presented and ex-plained by James Faulk-ner, assistant director of schools and supervisor of materials/grant writer; Nancy Hamilton, super-visor of instruction for grades 9-12; Lesa Scillion, supervisor of instruction for grades 5-8 and federal projects director; and Vikki Stevenson, supervisor of instruction for grades preK-4. Faulkner said comparison shows the Obion County School System performs well. The system is in good standing on No Child Left Behind status and has All Safe Schools status; has a 99.3 percent rate of highly-qualified teachers, with no permits or waivers; has a K-8 attendance rate of 95.3 percent and a 9-12 attendance rate of 95 percent, both above the state goals of 93 percent; has a K-8 promotion rate of 98.3 percent, above the state goal of 97 percent; and is 100 percent SACS accredited. The county school sys-tem’s per pupil expenditure of $7,806 per child is below the state average of $8,518 per child. “We’re getting good bang for our buck,” he said. Obion County does not have any schools on the state’s target list and all of the system’s schools met federally-mandated Adequate Yearly Progress. The system’s graduation rate of 88 percent in 2009 is above the state average of 83 percent. The state goal is 90 percent. “We want to be better than that,” Faulkner said, adding that Obion County is “gaining ground” and has shown increases the last several years. “Our school system performs well,” he added. By grade levels Mrs. Scillion reviewed the K-8 academic portion of the system’s report card, which shows Obion County made an A in math, a B in reading/language arts, an A in social studies and an A in science — all scoring above state averages. Grades 5 and 8 writing also scored A’s, and math and reading/language arts tested 100 percent, with all math sub-groups and all reading/language arts sub-groups above the state averages. An area of need was in math, where Hispanic and students with disabilities were both down slightly from the previous year, according to Mrs. Stevenson. They are still above state average, but she said she does not want to see any decline. Mrs. Hamilton explained the 9-12 academic portion, which includes an A in 11th grade writing. Math and reading/language arts tested 99 percent, with nine sub-groups above the state average and all sub-groups showing a 6 percent improvement over last year in math and all sub-groups above the state in reading/language arts. In ACT scores, all subjects were very slightly below the state average, but science reasoning was up 1 percent from last year. Mrs. Hamilton said needs are being addressed through the use of math tutors and ACT prep classes at both Obion County Central and South Fulton high schools. Finally, the system’s value-added portions of the report card were reviewed by Faulkner and Mrs. Hamilton. Value-added measures student progress within a grade and subject, which demonstrates the influence the school has on the students’ performance. This provides diagnostic information for improving educational opportunities for students at all achievement levels. Faulkner said the value-added portion for grades K-8 shows the system very close to straight B’s, with only a small percentage of C’s. For 9-12, Mrs. Hamilton reiterated that areas of need are being addressed. Data shows the three-year average for 11th grade writing is above what was predicted, while English II shows a three-year average status of no detectable difference and science is above what was predicted. Math, English I and U.S. history are below predicted scores for a three-year average. ACT composite also shows no detectable difference. In summary Huss said one of the areas of which he is most proud is the graduation rate, which is on the verge of meeting the state goal. Still, he said 90 percent is not good enough. Huss emphasized he is proud of all of the system’s supervisors and employees and he appreciates the support of the county commission, the school board and the entire community. “It takes everybody,” he said. “But together, we will be successful.” Other action In other action during Monday night’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by board member David Lamb, the school board: • Approved a consent agenda that included a monthly personnel report, monthly substitute teacher approval and monthly financial reports. The personnel report lists the retirements of bus drivers Regina Hixon and Laymon Jacobs, OCCHS attendance secretary Dolly Riley and Lake Road educational assistant Margaret Hoffman; leaves of absence for SFES teacher Amy Duncan, OCCHS custodian Susanne Keeling, Hillcrest teacher Amanda Spicer, Lake Road teacher Jennifer Robertson, OCCHS educational assistant Mary Jo King and Lake Road guidance counselor Josephine Keightley; and the hirings of bus drivers Dale Pate (to replace Ms. Hixon) and Bill Chapman (to replace Jacobs). Substitute teachers approved for the month include Nancy Ladd, Nicholas Ritter, Ashton Fleming, Sherri Rodgers, Michelle Allen, Jennifer Crittendon, Lindsey Mathis and Meredith Thompson. • Approved two amendments to the General Purpose School Fund’s 2009-10 fiscal year budget. The amendments included $42,796 to account for additional grant funds awarded for the Adult Education Program to establish a GED Preparation for Youth Program and $1,500 to account for a contribution to the Adult Education Program from the Kohler Company. • Approved an amendment to board policy regarding corporal punishment based on a proposed revision from the Tennessee School Boards Association. The amendment was approved on first reading, with the second reading waived, due to the revised policy deadline being Friday. • Approved four additional amendments to board policies, including those regarding the annual operating budget, revenues, investment earnings and expenses and reimbursements. All were also approved on first readings, with the second readings waived. • Accepted a low bid from Pro-Tec Security for a door access control system (key card system) for South Fulton Middle/High School. The low bid was $13,031.15 for the door access control system, $625 to bring maintenance agreements up to date and $250 for an annual maintenance contract for all security systems. • Approved Central Cafeteria food and non-food item bids, which had been solicited by the Reelfoot Area Consortium, for the second semester. The consortium approved the low bids but each individual school board must also accept them. The low bids were submitted by Hardin’s-Sysco for all food and non-food items in two proposals and by U.S. Foods for volatile bid items for milk products. • Approved a request from Lake Road Elementary to declare as surplus football helmets that are too old to be reconditioned. The school was also granted permission to hold a fundraiser to sell the helmets for $10 each, with the proceeds to be deposited into the school’s football account and used within the football program. • Received a draft copy of a 2010-11 school calendar for review only, with the item to considered by the board for approval at its February meeting. • Learned the board’s annual retreat has been scheduled for March 26 at the Obion County Public Library. Board member Glynn Giffin was absent from Monday night’s session, which was preceded by a meal provided by the school and entertainment by students. Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 1.12.10

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