|Schools’ officials pleased with students’ progress|
|Friday, November 2, 2012|
Graduation Rates Among Area Counties:
Wilson 95.5 Percent
By SABRINA GARRETT
Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis said he was very pleased with how schools ranked on the 2012 state Report Card, released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Davis said that all Wilson County Schools are above the state average in ACT composite scores and that they received all A’s in Achievement.
“We are very excited about the progress our students are making. Our schools did very well,” he said. In addition to that, the graduation rate has increased from 89.6 percent three years ago to 95.5 percent today. “That is a tremendous improvement.”
Sixty percent of teachers in the school system scored at level five, which is, as Davis put it, “as good as it gets when it comes to evaluations.”
He noted that the challenge now is to sustain those impressive scores. Last year, Mt. Juliet High School won the statewide High School SCORE Award, and this year Watertown High School was a “Rewards School,” meaning they were in the top 5 percent in the state that had made the most improvement.
“We’ve got good schools across the board,” he said.
The 2012 State Report Card offers a detailed breakdown of last year’s unprecedented statewide student achievement growth and presents the most recent data on graduation rate, demographics and school-level test scores.
This summer, the department released statewide and district-by-district achievement results, and now Tennesseans can view data by grade level, subject and subgroup for each of the 136 districts and 1,784 schools in the state.
They can also see the achievement and gap closure measures that earned various designations under the new accountability system, such as Exemplary District and Reward School status.
“We think it’s important for parents and students, as well as school and district leaders, to know how well their schools are doing each year,” said Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman in a statement. “Tennessee is focused on continuous growth, and our Report Card shows us where we are making gains and where we need more work.”
Last year, elementary and middle school students statewide grew in 23 out of 24 TCAP measures, and proficiency levels on several high school End of Course exams improved, even as more students enrolled in higher-level classes such as Algebra II due to more rigorous graduation requirements. The statewide graduation rate increased from 85.5 percent to 87.2 percent for the Class of 2012.
“In real estate, they always say ‘location, location, location,’” Davis said. “But the recognition here goes directly to our ‘teachers, teachers, teachers.’ It is our teachers that made the difference.”
Lebanon Special School District also did well on the Report Card, earning two A’s and two B’s in student academic achievement.
LSSD students exceeded the state academic average in reading, social studies, science and eighth grade writing.
The report card also showed that LSSD students made positive value-added growth over last year in math, reading and social studies. The school system also met or exceeded the state growth standard in math, reading and social studies by receiving one B and two C’s.
Even though students in 2012 made higher academic achievement scores in science than in 2011, the weakest area of value-added gain for students in the district was science.
“We continue to work to make gains in achievement even as the goals are set higher and higher each year,” said Scott Benson, LSSD director of schools. “We have pockets of high performance, and other areas where improvement in performance is needed. Our focus is to make sure that every student maximizes his learning every year.”
As Tennessee requires higher skill levels for students in order to prepare them for college and careers, the district is providing training for all teachers in effective ways to teach students. “As our principals and teachers work to challenge every student, they are meeting in grade level and vertical planning teams,” said Dr. Jeanne Barker, associate director of learning for LSSD. “Vertical planning teams improve communication of standards and expectations for learning at each level so that every student is both challenged and successful.”