Schools make passing grades

Schools make passing grades
Schools make passing grades | Schools make passing grades
By BRAD GASKINS
News Editor
Graduation rates for high school students in Weakley County are above the state average, and students in all grades are progressing well from one academic year to the next.
Those were just two of the findings included in the 2012 Tennessee State Report Card, released online Thursday.
The report card contains the most recent data on graduation rate, demographics and school-level test scores for every school district and school in the state.
It found that 92.4 percent of students graduated in 2012, a 6 percent increase from 2011 and 10 percent increase from 2010, when the county’s graduation rate was 82.9 percent.
The increased graduation rate is “a shining star for our system,” Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier said Friday.
Westview High School improved its graduation rate to 90.7, a 7 percent increase from 2011. The 2010 graduation rate was 79.2 percent.
“We worked hard to try to find ways to offset some of the deficiencies and eliminate some of them,” Westview principal David Byars said. “We think we’re on the right track.
“We have a 20-minute activity period during the day where students that are in jeopardy are assigned to the teacher to work with their deficiencies and try get them up where they’re passing.”
Dresden High School improved its graduation rate to 94 percent, up from the 2011 rate of 85.7 percent and the 2010 rate of 82.7 percent.
Gleason’s graduation rate dropped slightly to 92 percent, down from the 2011 rate of 94.4 percent, but still better than the 2010 rate of 87.8 percent.
In the past, high school students who were 17 years old and at least a year and a half behind academically were moved to a GED program at the Adult Learning Center.
That’s no longer being done.
“The state counted those as dropouts,” Frazier said. “We had to rethink what we’re doing.”
Weakley County high schools now use a program called Credit Recover to bring up grades. The program allows extra time during study hall or after school for extra attention on subjects a student may be struggling with.
Referring to scores for all schools and grade levels, Frazier said “the overall achievement in our county was good.”
Goals for each school district are set based on that district’s past performance.
“Our goals are set higher than most every district, because in the past we have performed higher,” Frazier said. “That’s good, but sometimes we can miss a goal and be 18 percent higher than the state average.”
Weakley County improved in one category for TCAP achievement scores for grades 3-8. Weakley County improved its math grade to an A from a B. There was no change in scores for reading/language (B), social studies (A) or science (A).
Value added scores measure student growth in grades K-8 from one academic year to the next. An “A” means significantly more than a year’s growth, a “B” means more than a year’s growth and a “C” means expected growth.
“In every subject system-wide, and in every grade level, we made As and Bs in everything but one,” Frazier said. “We made a C in science, which means we made the year’s growth but we didn’t exceed that.”
The system improved its math grade to an A from a C and saw no change in reading/language (B grade) and social studies (A).
Martin Elementary School improved its grade in three student growth categories. It improved from a B to an A in math and reading/language and from a C to a B in science. There was no change in its social studies grade of an A.
“We work very hard to make sure we are doing a good job with out students and that they’re achieving to their fullest abilities,” Martin Elementary principal Teresa Jackson said. “When I see this report card it tells me I have a wonderful staff and a wonderful body of students.”
Sharon School improved in all four academic growth categories: from a D to a B in math, from an F to a D in reading/language, from a C to an A in social studies and from an F to a D in science.
“That’s a testament for our students and our teachers, and all the hard work they’ve put in,” Sharon principal Donald Ray High said.
Third-grade and seventh-grade language arts continue to need improvement across the system, Frazier said.
“We didn’t perform as well as we expected to,” he said. “We have targeted those two areas to improve on.”
A program called Classworks is used for grades 3-8. The online program for reading at math looks at student test scores and provides pacing guides for each grading periods to help students raise their scores.
Weakley County made significant strides in scores for students with disabilities, something many districts across the state were unable to accomplish.
The report card noted that Weakley County did not meet the majority of Gap Closure Measures, a system designed to bridge the gap between minority scores. However, a press release from the state noted that most districts in the state also failed to do so.
Closing those gaps will continue to be priority, Frazier said.
“Academically, we’re one of the stronger districts,” said Frazier, who has been the schools director for four years and worked for the system for 27 years. “That doesn’t mean we don’t need to improve, because we do. We’ve got good schools across the board.”
In the coming weeks and months, each school principal will hold a “town hall” for parents. Principals will discuss their specific school’s report card and what it means for the students.
“I’m proud of our teachers and students,” Frazier said. “We’re working really hard to have an even better year this year.” extra time during study hall or after school for extra attention on subjects a student may be struggling with.
Referring to scores for all schools and grade levels, Frazier said “the overall achievement in our county was good.”
Goals for each school district are set based on that district’s past performance.
“Our goals are set higher than most every district, because in the past we have performed higher,” Frazier said. “That’s good, but sometimes we can miss a goal and be 18 percent higher than the state average.”
Weakley County improved in one category for TCAP achievement scores for grades 3-8. Weakley County improved its math grade to an A from a B. There was no change in scores for reading/language (B), social studies (A) or science (A).
Value added scores measure student growth in grades K-8 from one academic year to the next. An ‘A’ means significantly more than a year’s growth, a ‘B’ means more than a year’s growth and a ‘C’ means expected growth.
“In every subject system-wide, and in every grade level, we made As and Bs in everything but one,” Frazier said. “We made a C in science, which means we made the year’s growth but we didn’t exceed that.”
The system improved its math grade to an A from a C, and saw no change in reading/language (B grade) and social studies (A).
Martin Elementary School improved its grade in three student growth categories. It improved from a B to an A in math and reading/language, and from a C to a B in science. There was no change in its social studies grade of an A.
“We work very hard to make sure we are doing a good job with out students and that they’re achieving to their fullest abilities,” Martin Elementary Principal Teresa Jackson said. “When I see this report card it tells me I have a wonderful staff and a wonderful body of students.”
Sharon School improved in all four academic growth categories: from a D to a B in math, from an F to a D in reading/language, from a C to an A in social studies and from an F to a D in science.
“That’s a testament for our students and our teachers, and all the hard work they’ve put in,” Sharon Principal Donald Ray High said.
Third-grade and seventh-grade language arts continue to need improvement across the system, Frazier said.
“We didn’t perform as well as we expected to,” he said. “We have targeted those two areas to improve on.”
A program called Classworks is used for grades 3-8. The online program for reading at math looks at student test scores and provides pacing guides for each grading periods to help students raise their scores.
Weakley County made significant strides in scores for students with disabilities, something many districts across the state were unable to accomplish.
The report card noted that Weakley County did not meet the majority of Gap Closure Measures, a system designed to bridge the gap between minority scores. However, a press release from the state noted that most districts in the state also failed to do so.
Closing those gaps will continue to be priority, Frazier said.
“Academically, we’re one of the stronger districts,” said Frazier, who has been the schools director for four years and worked for the system for 27 years. “That doesn’t mean we don’t need to improve, because we do. We’ve got good schools across the board.”
In the coming weeks and months, each school principal will hold a “town hall” for parents. Principles will discuss their specific school’s report card and what it means for the students.
The full report is available at tn.gov/education/reportcard.
“I’m proud of our teachers and students,” Frazier said. “We’re working really hard to have an even better year this year.” Published in The WCP 11.6.12

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