NCLB report card indentifies weaknesses in UC school system

NCLB report card indentifies weaknesses in UC school system
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A 10-page state report on academic achievement in the Union City School System identifies some deficiencies in the system.
The 2011 No Child Left Behind report card was provided to members of the Union City Board of Education Monday night. The complicated statistical report was translated by Vicki Wilkinson, who went page-by-page through the document to explain the significance of the numbers in the report.
She tried to paint a positive picture of the report, but board member Dr. Wright Jernigan questioned why ACT scores in the school system have been declining or, as he put it, “drifting downward.”
In fact, the report identified several areas where student academic achievement has declined in the Union City School System.
The NCLB report documents student achievement for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The areas of math, English, social studies and science are reviewed in the report and academic achievement is rated on a scale of advanced, proficient, basic and below basic.
“We’ve been designated a safe school,” Mrs. Wilkinson said about the report.
She told the board, “We have some challenges” and said teachers in the system are facing those challenges.
“We are now more focused on intervention,” she said.
Included in the state report were some interesting statistics about the local school system. There are 1,441 students in the school system, 108 teacher and eight administrators. A total of $9,023 is being spent to educate each student in the school system, just below the state average, and the high school graduation rate is 85.7 percent.
The detailed and complex NCLB report is used by school administrators to identify areas of weakness and then address those areas.
The Union City School System has done just that with the hiring of Elizabeth Miller as a graduation coach.
Mrs. Miller gave a thorough report on her job responsibilities at Monday night’s board meeting.
“This is a whole new role,” Director of Schools Gary Houston said about the new position.
“I’m constantly having meetings with students and parents,” she told the board.
Mrs. Miller’s primary responsibility as the new graduation coach is to work with students, teachers and parents to keep students out of trouble and on track to graduate.
“Primarily, it’s whatever it takes,” she said about her work.
“Right now I’ve got 30 (students) that I’d call high priority,” she said in response to a question about how many students she is currently working with at UCHS.
Mrs. Miller explained she develops action plan worksheets for students and helps them set goals.
“Attendance is a big issue,” she told the board.
She is also scheduling after-school tutoring sessions for at-risk students and school buses are being made available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get those students home after their tutoring sessions.
“We’re very grateful for the job you do,” school board chairman Glenda Caudle told Mrs. Miller after her report.
In other action during Monday night’s 35-minute meeting, the school board:
• Approved a three-year contract with the ATA auditing firm to perform annual audits for the school system.
• Was informed UCHS history teacher Cole Clanton has turned in a letter of resignation and Amanda Dawkins has been hired as a teacher at the elementary school to replace Trudy Evans. Houston also informed the board Holly Scribner and Amber Waddell have been hired as educational assistants.
• Was informed by Houston a special staff Christmas reception will be held after school Monday at the UCHS commons area for the school system staff. School will dismiss for the Christmas break on Dec. 20 and students will return to school on Jan. 3, 2012.
A prayer was led by Cathy Waggoner prior to the start of Monday night’s meeting and student representative Morgan Stone led the Pledge of Allegiance to start the meeting.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.13.11

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