(Leitchfield, KY) – “This is one of the longest summers we’ve had in 20 years, and it’s gone by fast,” said Barry Anderson, Grayson County Superintendent.
During the regular monthly meeting of the Grayson County Board of Education, Anderson said the district is experiencing one of the busiest summers he can remember.
The plumbing rehabilitation projects at the high school and H.W. Wilkey Elementary has carried large price tags, and had board members concerned the torn apart kitchens, locker-rooms and hallway floors would be in shambles too long, forcing back the start date for students. But Anderson said that’s not the case, the projects are actually ahead of schedule and construction crews are working on projects that were scheduled for Sept. 2013.
The first day of school for students remains the same, August 7th.
The board members were given a snap shot of the ACT scores generated by the junior class 2012 – 2013.
Overall scores for the district remained “flat,” according to Carla Purcell, Instructional Supervisor.
There were some “highlights” for the district in the area of math.
The students are scored in four areas of study including math, science, reading, and English.
The following charts outline how GCHS Juniors compared to the Kentucky State Benchmarks and state averages.
State Benchmark GCHS Average State Average
English: 15% 45% met state benchmark 54% met state benchmark
Math: 22% 29% met state benchmark 27% met state benchmark
(up from last year’s score of 22%)
Reading: 21% 42% met state benchmark 40% met state benchmark
Science: 24% 15% met state benchmark 18% met state benchmark
12% of GCHS students met all four benchmarks
It’s been five years since the Commonwealth changed legislation that requires every high school junior to take the ACT. Glancing at the five year trends indicated that overall GCHS is still behind state averages in composite scores.
Overall Scores for GCHS:
English: GCHS Score - 17 (down from last year) State Score - 18.4
Math: GCHS Score - 19.2 (up .6 from last year and higher than the state score)
Reading: GCHS Score - 19.1 (same as last year) State Score - 19.4
Science: GCHS Score - 19 (up .10 of a point but below state score)
Composite Score: GCHS Score - 18.7 (same as last year) State Score: 19.2
The highlight for Grayson County comes through the improving math scores, which is the area most districts struggle with, according to Purcell.
Anderson said that Kentucky is one of the only states that require all juniors take the ACT; and there were over 40,000 juniors in the Commonwealth last year.
“We’ve got to do more ACT-like activities in the elementary schools,” said Anderson, who said it’s a district wide responsibility. “We want to be above average.”
Todd Johnston, GCHS Principal, said the state implemented the RTI (Response to Intervention) program last year, and GCHS made the decision to add the RTI unit to the students first 25 minutes of their day.
The RTI program is a way for the schools to pinpoint a student’s weakness and be able to provide individual intervention in the area the child needs.
During the 25 minutes, the students focus on ACT type questions. They are taking pretest for the first 4 -5 weeks of the trimester, and then posttest for the last portion of the trimester.
Johnston said the students are given ACT – like questions which are assessed by the teacher, who can then help instruct the child on understanding and improvement of the test questions.
“I’ve heard positive responses from our students about how it’s prepared them to take the ACT,” said Johnston.
This summer has brought the GCMS English teachers together with the high school English teachers, in a development of tactics to use in the classroom, according to Johnston. He said the English portion of the ACT test deals with grammar and sentence structure and these two groups of teachers decided to collaborate together on ways to focus on freshmen.
The board voted to raise the dropout rate from 16 to 18. Board member Mona Fulkerson said, “I am honored to make a motion to approve this.”
Anderson said the district expects to receive the $10,000 grant the state offered to the first districts who adopted the new change.