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Test scores better in Letcher, Jenkins



Both public school systems in Letcher County met district goals in the second year of the Unbridled Learning school assessment.

Letcher County Public Schools has been labeled as a high progress district, ranking at the 67th percentile, up from last year’s district ranking of being in the 15th percentile. The Jenkins Independent School System’s overall score is 53.4, with the district’s annual measurable objective being set at 50.2. The district met participation rate and graduation rate goals.

“Our scores improved dramatically,” said Letcher Schools Supt. Tony Sergent. “We’re sure happy with the results. It’s good for morale. All of the hard work has paid off.”

With a score of 58, the Letcher County district was four-tenths of a point from being a proficient district. All schools and districts have a goal to reach proficiency.

Nine of 11 schools in the Letcher school district improved scores from the previous year. Arlie Boggs, Cowan, Letcher and West Whitesburg elementary schools; Arlie Boggs, Fleming- Neon, Letcher and Whitesburg middle schools; and Letcher County Central High School all had higher scores compared to last year’s scores.

Arlie Boggs Middle School, Fleming-Neon Middle School, Whitesburg Middle School and Letcher County Central High School have reached proficiency.

Last year, Fleming-Neon Middle School was the only school in the Letcher district to earn proficiency status.

Arlie Boggs Middle School, Letcher Elementary School, West Whitesburg Elementary School and Letcher County Central High School have been labeled “high progress” schools because of the large increase of scores from the previous year.

Rolling over from last year’s test scores, Arlie Boggs Elementary School, Letcher County Central High School, Letcher Elementary School and West Whitesburg Elementary School are listed as “focus schools”. Even though all four schools improved scores, it takes two years of increasing scores to wipe away that label.

Cowan Middle School and Martha Jane Potter Elementary School did not meet goals.

“Even the schools that didn’t improve, their scores were still solid,” said Sergent. “We are always looking forward to do better.”

Letcher Public Schools scores are: Arlie Boggs Elementary, 52.6; Arlie Boggs Middle School, 62.4; Cowan Elementary School, 53.6; Cowan Middle School, 56.7; Fleming-Neon Middle School, 64.2; Letcher Elementary School, 60.3; Letcher Middle School; 52.8; Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, 51.7; West Whitesburg Elementary School, 55.2; Whitesburg Middle School, 61.2; and Letcher County Central High School, 59.8.

Jenkins Independent is ranked at the 39th percentile and is categorized as “needs improvement/ progressing.”

The elementary score is 47.4 and the middle school score is 51.3. The high school scored 61.5, a gain of 16 points from last year’s score of 45.5.

Jenkins Independent Supt. Debbie Watts said the achievement accountability levels — which include reading, math, science, social studies and on demand writing and mechanics — indicated 58.2 points for elementary level, 62.6 points for middle school level, and 50.1 points for the high school level.

Jenkins High School earned the ranking of a “high progress school.” Jenkins High School scored 63.4, exceeding the state delivery goal of 53.1 in helping students attain college and career readiness standards.

“This category measures student performance on tests, graduation rates, and college and career readiness,” said Watts. “Time and support for targeted students needing additional help, dual credit course opportunities with the University of Pikeville, high level trainings for staff, and high expectations for all students to achieve College/Career Readiness Standards have helped the school make progress.”

Watts said leadership has been key in putting in structures that are focused on the learning needs of students.

“Teachers have bought into student accomplishments based on their efforts,” said Watts. “They have gone the extra mile in reaching out to students, volunteered for afterschool tutoring, and sacrificed personal time to help students make academic gains.”

Jenkins Middle School scores increased this year from 47.2 to 51.3 for next generation learners. In accountability and achievement, the scores increased from 58.5 to 62.6, a gain of 4.1 points. The middle school is labeled as a “needs improvement/progressing” school.

“Many changes are occurring at this level with increased emphasis on personalized learning, targeted interventions, and acceleration opportunities for students planning on entering the dual credit program during high school,” said Watts.

Watts said elementary scores are disappointing with a reduction from 55 to 47.4 for next generation learners, a decrease of 7.6 points.

The elementary level did not meet its annual goal and has been labeled as “needs improvement.” She said accountability achievement at the elementary level fell from 63.5 to 58.2, a reduction of 5.3.

“Factors impacting these scores have been identified as curriculum alignment issues with the Common Core Content and Program of Studies and targeted progress monitoring,” she said. “This year, Professional Learning teams will be involved with each content strand, revisiting standards and curriculum alignment.”

Watts said increased formative assessment and frequent analysis of performance levels will help all students achieve grade level standards.

“Intensified training and support for staff will also address targeted instructional areas,” she said. “An excellent staff, while disappointed with test scores, are energetically reviewing and renewing academic structures, schedules and practices that will increase proficiency levels in all courses.”

Watts said Jenkins Independent made progress as a district and celebrates the great successes seen each year.

“We are, by no means, satisfied with our score report, but we are confident that issues affecting student achievement can be easily resolved through identification of problems and strong strategies to strengthen the school academic program,” she said. “The district has made great progress through a dedicated staff and a strong board of education that prioritizes student achievement. They have set the standard high for Jenkins Independent and staff members will do everything possible to ensure students achieve at top levels.”

Scores released Friday for the 2012-13 school year show that students are improving statewide.

“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said in a Friday news release.

Student performance showed improvement from 2012. The percentage of proficient and distinguished students, the top two scoring categories, increased in nearly every subject at every grade level, according to the release.

Students who historically have been stuck in “achievement gaps” are performing at a higher level, the release stated. Those so-called “gap students” are those identified as part of a minority group, receive free/reduced lunch, receive special education or are English-language learners.

The gap students’ scores also are one of five components in each school’s assessment.

This year, the college/career readiness statewide rate jumped to 54.1 percent from 34 percent in 2010, according to the news release.

A new, more accurate way of tracking graduations rate has revealed that 86 percent of students are graduating from high school in four years, the release added.

The overall scoring range for each school is 0 to 100. The state’s goal is to have 100 percent profi- ciency for all students.

Compared to last year, 114 more schools and 31 more districts are performing at the highest levels, which is either profi- cient or distinguished.

Compiled from Associated Press and Mountain Eagle reports.



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