UC schools in good standing, according to state report card

UC schools in good standing, according to state report card

Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 11:06 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A comprehensive, and complicated, report on the status of Tennessee’s school systems has been released by the state Department of Education.
Overall, the report shows the 1,453 students in the Union City School System are doing well academically with only a couple of areas in need of improvement.
There is room for im-provement in the areas of math and reading/language arts for students in grades 3-8 in the Union City School System.
There are actually two state reports — known as the Adequate Yearly Progress report and the State Report Card —  which were released Friday afternoon over the state Department of Education’s website.
Each of Tennessee’s 1,653 schools were evaluated in the reports.
The review of the Union City School System is partly based on standardized student achievement tests that were given in the spring of 2010, while also relying on student attendance rates, graduation rates and other test data.
For Union City’s class-room/curriculum coordi-nator Vicki Wilkinson, the most significant part of the state reports is that the local school system achieved the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goal required by the state.
“Ultimately, our goal is to be in good standing, which we are,” Mrs. Wilkinson said.
“We’re addressing the specific areas where there was a lack of growth and where we didn’t meet the state growth standard,” she said.
AYP is a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, mandating that schools across the state achieve 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014. The AYP standard also sets the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2014.
Mrs. Wilkinson told The Messenger Monday the Union City School System is working toward those goals and is making significant progress.
“Across the state, schools and districts faced challenges with increased standards and assessments,” a state Department of Education news release states in part.
“As we all know, this has been a unique and monumental year for education reform in Tennessee,” state Commissioner of Education Bruce Opie said Friday. “Several factors converged to impact student success, including increased standards and assessments, yet our educators and school leaders have still shown great progress.”
Opie’s remarks referred to new academic standards introduced in July 2010 by the state Board of Education.
New academic benchmarks set by the state coincided with new federal benchmarks, creating new standards for academic achievement for the Union City School System and other school systems across the state.
Schools must also meet specific performance standards in 37 separate categories in each grade to be labeled in “good standing” under the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Despite the new standards and assessments, schools across the state continue to show steady improvement.
In Union City, school officials are using the state report cards as a tool to help students perform better in the classroom.
The state reports detail how well students are doing at each grade level in the areas of math and English. Academic growth is documented in the additional areas of social studies, science, ACT scores and Gateway test scores.
Academic achievement is identified in the reports in terms of percentages, rankings and year-to-year comparisons.
It is a highly complex range of statistics that even Mrs. Wilkinson admits is complicated. She has studied the statistics and presented a report to the Union City Board of Education Monday night.
Published in The Messenger 1.12.11

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