Wilson schools get A's and B's in report

The value added scores, which measure how fast students are progressing, were A’s in language arts, science and social studies while the B was in Math.

Overall, all Wilson County Schools are all in good standing except Lebanon High School which is on the target list due to lower graduation rates than needed. Lebanon High also has some low achievement scores for students with disabilities, but the scores are still higher than the state average for this category.

LHS has a graduation rate of 82.1 percent while the county is at 87.9 with the target score at 90 percent. The actual statewide graduation rate is 82.2 percent.

“We lacked two students to match the state average at Lebanon,” Davis noted.

He also added that with a boost from a recent $35,000 grant from AT&T, Lebanon High is starting a freshman academy to help students start well in high school.

“You can’t wait until they’re seniors, you have to start with freshmen,” he said.

So comparatively, the county is doing well and even LHS is doing almost as well as the state average.

And since the standards are being raised each year, each school has to set higher standards, too, Davis said. In Wilson County that challenge is being answered by more Advanced Placement classes such as AP Physics which he said not only is AP but has extra relevance to what students will need to know to succeed in the future.

He also spoke about the various distance learning classes that will be starting in January.

One example is a German class which will be taught at Wilson Central High School with computer connections so students at other schools can also join the class online.

Lebanon Special School District similarly had six A’s and 2 B’s on their state report card, but both of their B’s were in the value added areas of reading and science.

“These outstanding results come from a focus on our vision to provide excellence in teaching and learning to empower all children with the tools they will need to be successful in a globally changing world,” said Dr. Sharon Roberts, director of LSSD.

Associate Director of Learning Jeanne Ray added, “We are especially proud of our 72 Algebra I students who were 100 percent proficient with 56 scoring Advanced on the high school Gateway exam.”

Also, LSSD has an average daily attendance rate of 97 percent, while the average statewide is 92.4 percent with a goal of 93 percent.

She also said the report card gives schools information they need to improve.

One of the ways LSSD plans to improve is by providing more rigorous classes, more access to technology and opportunities for enrichment and tutoring after school, Ray added.

LSSD also assists families in their district with Literacy Family Nights, Pre-K family nights and workshops on issues that support students by supporting their families.

The report card also tracks non-academic indicators that influence achievement like teacher preparedness and student discipline.

Tennessee's 2008 report card shows an increase in the percentage of courses taught by highly qualified teachers and a decrease in student suspensions and expulsions.

"We know schools have a great influence on young people beyond the education of their minds," said Assistant Commissioner of Accountability and Teaching and Learning Connie Smith. "Part of school success means providing resources to remove obstacles hindering student achievement so they can focus their energy on learning."

The Tennessee Department of Education also released its state-level results, which show Tennessee met federal achievement benchmarks in all but one category, improved achievement in reading/language arts at the elementary level and increased the state's graduation rate to 82.2 percent.

"Under Gov. Bredesen's leadership, Tennessee's focus is on raising standards for student learning so all students have the opportunity to graduate well-prepared to pursue higher education or enter the workforce," said Education Commissioner Timothy Webb. "Our aggressive path of improvement means a better chance for students and a stronger workforce for Tennessee."

Since embarking on the Tennessee Diploma Project in January, Tennessee has passed increased academic standards and graduation requirements.

Because of the state's commitment to education reform, Tennessee was chosen as one of eight leading states to launch the Career and College-Ready Policy Institute, a national initiative to help other states graduate students ready for 21st century expectations.

A new feature of the online report card allows visitors to easily jump between 2007 report card results and the 2008 report card results using a drop-down feature at the top of each page. To view the statewide report card, visit www.tennessee.gov/education/reportcard .

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com