UC schools earn high marks on state education report card

UC schools earn high marks on state education report card

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:07 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
“It’s been a long time coming,” Union City Dir-ector of Schools Gary Houston said about a series of education reports released by the state Department of Education Friday.
Houston’s remark to the Union City School Board Monday night was followed by a 15-minute overview of the state education report card by Vicki Wilkinson.
She is the classroom/curriculum coordinator for the city school system.
The state education report card is a significant update for school systems across the state on just how well students are mastering the state’s academic goals.
For the Union City School System, Mrs. Wilkinson’s report to the school board was both comprehensive and enlightening.
“I’m going to give you just a little overview,” she said in her opening remarks to the board. She described the reports as “good news” for the Union City School System.
Most importantly, Mrs. Wilkinson told the board the school system is on track to meet state academic goals.
The Union City School System, as do all school systems across the state, has until 2014 to meet specific academic goals for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
“All schools in the Union City School System earned ‘good standing’ on the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2010 Report Card,’ Mrs. Wilkinson said Monday night. “We met the benchmarks for graduation, attendance and proficiency scores in the subjects of math and reading/language arts, which are used to measure whether or not a school system has made ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ according to No Child Left Behind guidelines.”
Mrs. Wilkinson added teachers in the school system will continue to address the “challenges of increased rigor in the curriculum standards and assessment.”
The state education report represents an in-depth and complex series of statistical information. The information contained in the reports provides local school administrators with an update on how well students are performing academically. The reports identify areas of strength and weakness. It’s those areas of weakness that administrators and teachers then work to improve.
Mrs. Wilkinson said those improvements “mean our students will be better prepared.”
“Even though a smaller number of students statewide are in the proficient or advanced levels of performance now, the expected improvements mean our students will be more competitive and more successful in their future in a global economy, amongst their peers in Tennessee, and against their peers in high-performing nations across the world,” she said.
One of the keys to interpreting the state reports is the catchphrase “Adequate Yearly Progress.” School systems are required by the state to show annual progress in academic achievement, which Union City schools are doing, according to Mrs. Wilkinson.
Student performance is measured in the categories of below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. Student performance is measured in 37 categories at each grade level.
“Just as Tennessee is raising the bar for students and about what ‘proficiency’ on our statewide assessments means, we are also raising the bar for our ‘state growth standard,’” Mrs. Wilkinson told the school board.
She also pointed out that all schools in the city system are accredited and that 100 percent of the teachers in the system are “highly qualified” as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.
She also said the attendance rate in grades three through eight exceeded the 93 percent target attendance rate, and the latest figures show Union City High School has an 89.2 percent graduation rate. The state has set a goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2014.
Overall, Mrs. Wilkinson’s report to the school board painted a positive picture of the city school system’s academic standing and she was quick to praise teachers in the system for their hard work.
Her report dominated the agenda of Monday night’s half-hour-long school board meeting. Board members were provided handouts relative to the state education reports.
In other action, the school board:
• Was advised work on the installation of new bleachers at Union City High School gym is complete. The public will get its first look at the new seats at tonight’s Halls vs. UCHS basketball game.
“They look really good,” Houston told the school board.
• Was advised of the resignation of Union City Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Ann Wohlfarth and of the hiring of Melissa Blackwell to take her place. Also, the board was advised of the hiring of Kelsey Arnold as an educational assistant at the elementary school.
• Approved a low bid of $1,132,047 from Hardin’s Sysco for food and non-food items for the second half of this school year. The bid was recommended by Food Service Director Billie Rich.
• Was informed that the Tennessee School Board Association’s annual Day on the Hill is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Nashville. Expected to attend the event will be Houston and three members of the board.
Monday night’s meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by UCHS senior and student board member Chase Bowling. Prior to the opening of the meeting, board member Cathy Waggoner led a prayer.
Published in The Messenger 1.11.11

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