Student performances promised to continue in Maury County schools


Editor’s Note: This is part two of an article, analyzing the district’s recent test results and plans for improvement.

With the future of her students in mind every day, Riverside Elementary School Grade 4 teacher Libbie Clark teaches her students the principles of math.

Its goal is to ensure that students have a solid foundation to build their education on as they graduate and enter college.

“You just have to find these holes and these gaps and try to fill them,” Clark said.

Clark’s efforts exemplify the district’s focus on a unified, district-wide program in 2020 as well as program leadership. Other district-wide strategies include problem-based learning and an emphasis on vocational and technical education.

Educators in the Maury County Public School District are also working to maintain recent growth in student academic performance, according to recent state growth scores released in October. .

Last month, the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System showed that students have made significant gains in academic growth over the past year.

Maury County Public School Superintendent Michael Hickman called it “huge” progress.

Following: “Huge” Progress: Academic Growth in Maury County Improves Despite Pandemic Setbacks

Growth scores show that the district moved from “Need for Improvement” to “Satisfactory” as students improved subject fluency by 10%, while gaps in student academic performance decreased. by 20%.

The improvement comes after the annual progress of students in the district remained “in need of improvement” for more than half a decade.

The state’s review also showed that Highland Park Elementary School, Mt. Pleasant Middle School, and Spring Hill Middle Schools showed improved outcomes by raising these schools from the 5% of the lowest performing schools in the state.

Following: “Huge” Progress: Academic Growth in Maury County Improves Despite Pandemic Setbacks

Room for improvement

While being considered for the position at the start of the 2020-21 school year, Hickman spoke about putting the residents of the school district first and offered a basic roadmap for increasing academic performance in the public institution.

“Having said that, there are areas where we need to do better,” Hickman told the Daily Herald. “Our goal is to go from a ‘Satisfactory’ level to a ‘State Reward’ neighborhood. We will continue to move forward. “

Ironically, although students in the district have improved in the growth of TVAAS, students’ reading and math proficiency scores continue to lag behind their peers across the state.

According to district-level testing data released in August, 18.1% of students in public schools in Maury County are proficient in math, while 21.2% of students are proficient in English language arts from kindergarten to grade 12. Grade 12 in 2020-2021.

Scores down compared to 2019.

In 2019, students showed 23.5% fluency in math and 24.9% in ELA. In 2018, the scores showed a mastery of 20% and 23.8% in the respective subjects.

Data from the 2017 state exam showed that 22% of students were on track in English and 17.9% in math.

Current scores also show that 12% of students in Maury County have surpassed or achieved seventh-grade math skills, falling behind the state average of 22.9%.

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Put students, the program first

With less than 25% of students reading at grade level and less than 30% at grade level in math, Scott Gains, assistant superintendent of academics, pointed out that there is plenty of room for improvement.

“We have to focus on this,” Gaines said. “This is not where we want to be.”

Gains said that over the next few months, school district educators will continue to dig into the unified district program implemented in 2020 and seek additional support and guidance from the school district leadership.

“We focus on the teachers and help them implement the program,” Gains said. “We provide support through coaches and an implementation team to engage in stimulating teaching. “

Following: “The well is very dry”: the shortage of teachers in Maury county leads to insufficient staffing and “mass” education

Following: Maury County School Board is considering outsourcing substitute management

More time for students and planning

At Riverside Elementary School, 45% of students perform below the state benchmark in English. The school has the highest number of students at this level in the district. The entire campus receives federal Title I funds and all students receive a free and discounted lunch. .

In math, students at Brown Elementary and Highland Park have the most difficulty, with 42% and 43% of students performing below the state standard, respectively.

Reggie Holmes, principal of Riverside, said his school and campuses across the country are making math and reading a priority in an effort to ensure that students are reading at grade three as early as grade three and that seventh grade students master math.

Wonders, a new English language teaching program, was implemented at the start of the 2020-21 school year to stimulate learning.

The district also continues to use i-Ready, another math program, at the elementary school level.

Holmes said the standardized programs are helping a growing number of students in the county, who frequently travel between schools as their families work to find affordable housing in the community.

He said the population of students for whom English is not their first language has doubled in the past year, with the vast majority of households speaking Spanish.

“We weren’t expecting that amount,” Holmes said.

With a shortage of educators seeking positions, Holmes said the school continues to seek teachers to serve non-English speaking students.

“It’s the same situation that every district in the state is going through right now,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the campus is revising its class schedules to ensure students have more time in class and teachers have more time to plan class.

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Back to the roots

The effects of students not grasping the fundamentals can be seen in the scores of high schools in the district.

At Spring Hill High School, 81% of students do not meet the state’s expectations in Algebra I. At Columbia Central, 79% do not meet the Benchmark, according to the state exam.

In Algebra II, 78% do not reach the Spring Hill benchmark and 81% are not in Mt. Pleasant High School.

“The most important thing is to be consistent with the program,” said Holmes. “Kids who see the same K curriculum and above are going to be very important.”

Contact Mike Christen at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH and on Instagram @michaelmarco. Please consider supporting his work and that of other Daily Herald journalists by subscribing to the publication.

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