The ending of summer brings back many things each year: The changing of colors in the leaves. Cooler temperatures. And school test scores and proficiency ratings being released by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
The accountability system, or School Report Card, incorporates requirements from the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 1 of 2017. According to KDE, Kentucky is in the process of phasing in a new accountability system, scheduled to be fully implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.
Once fully implemented, school and district performance will be classified using Kentucky's five-star rating system.
Statewide, 51 schools were named Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools, or schools which were performing in the bottom 5 percent. No local schools were named in that group.
However, several schools from both Pulaski County and Somerset Districts were named Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) schools, or schools identified as needing improvement for specific student groups.
For the Somerset Independent District, both Hopkins Elementary and Somerset High School were labeled TSI for disability, as were Northern Middle School, Southern Middle School and Southwestern High School in the Pulaski County district.
Other School Report Card features are described below for each school district.
SOMERSET INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
The overall Proficiency Ratings for the Somerset District were reported as: Somerset High School with 77.8, Hopkins Elementary with 78.2, and Meece Middle School with 84.9. Each school's rating is higher than the achievement scores reported from last year. However, with changes in the assessment system, scores between the two years are not comparable.
Cindy Ham, District Assessment/Instructional Supervisor, said that Somerset Schools were "very proud of our students and teachers for continuing the tradition of excellence."
She reminded that the changes in state assessments meant that they do not have the same scores or labels as in the past.
"Therefore, our school staff will be looking at individual students and grade level scores to help us best continue the variety of learning opportunities for our students in the future. As the state revises standards and assessments, our teachers will be using the resources available to help our students earn the highest achievement possible."
Superintendent Kyle Lively added, "These test scores are a direct result of remarkable students, teachers/staff, parents, and administrators working toward a common goal. We are truly fortunate to have a fantastic student body with supportive parents. Our teachers/staff and administrators go above and beyond to ensure all student needs are met. It is this combination of caring and dedication that make results like this possible. We are extremely proud of what our students and teachers have accomplished."
Among Somerset's highlights are the increase in ACT composite scores and all sub-scores. "This data shows that many of our students are college ready by the end of their 11th grade year," Ham said.
The district also:
Increased the number of students who are college or career ready.Increased the four-year graduation rate.Had more than 70 percent of students score Proficient or Distinguished in Seventh and Eighth Grade Reading and MathShowed significant gains in the percent of students scoring Proficient and Distinguished in Reading and Math.Showed that Fourth Grade students had a higher level of growth compared to the state.
PULASKI COUNTY SCHOOLS
The 12 schools in the county district completed the final year of the old accountability system with high achievement and have started the transition year of the new system in much the same way.
"We again had another extremely successful year in student achievement, scoring well above state averages in all categories even with a lot of changes and unknowns," Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Patrick Richardson stated. "Our teachers and staff work hard every day making sure our students and schools are the best they can be."
Because Kentucky is transitioning away from the Unbridled Learning Accountability Model, no overall scores were produced. Elementary and middle schools received scores in areas of proficiency, separate academic indicators and growth; while high schools were scored in proficiency, transition readiness and graduation rate. Next year the new accountability model is expected to be fully implemented with the addition of gap and opportunity/access measures as well as a rating system.
Graduation rates are a major part of the accountability process at the high school level, and Pulaski officials were pleased with the 97.5 percent reported at Pulaski County High School and 98.4 percent at Southwestern High School.
"We have very high graduation rates," Richardson said. "It is proof we care about every student and work hard to make sure all students are successful. We continue to offer more and more rigorous opportunities for our high school students."
PCHS scored a 71.8 proficiency rating while Southwestern scored 69.3. Southwestern was identified for targeted support (TSI) for their special needs population, as were both middle schools.
"We have about 95 students in the middle schools and about 25 at the high school level that need even more support and interventions," Richardson explained. "We will be looking closely at each of these students to determine how we can best support them."
In terms of proficiency, Northern Middle School rated 81 while Southern Middle School rated 85.5. The district's elementary schools earned the following proficiency ratings: Burnside, 82.6; Eubank, 73.6; Nancy, 82.5; Northern, 85.5; Oak Hill, 89.7; Pulaski, 86.6; Shopville, 97.7; and Southern, 87.1.
"The foundation of the new system has been determined with additional assessment categories still to be added in as we transition to the new system," Richardson concluded. "During this transition period, we will continue to focus on each individual child and provide opportunities for our students that are second to none."
SCIENCE HILL SCHOOL
You can be this or that, but you want to be the "other." Jimmy Dyehouse, Superintendent of Science Hill School, a single-facility district that goes up through the 8th grade in northern Pulaski County, is happy to be in that category.
"The goal for every school in the state this year is to be classified as 'other,'" said Dyehouse. "I am extremely proud of our elementary and middle school for earning this classification. All the hard work from teachers, assistants and students has definitely paid off."
That's "other" as opened to the categories of CSI or TSI, which suggest improvement is needed by a school.
The Proficiency Indicator at the elementary and middle school level is made up of Eeading and Mathematics scores and has a range of 0-125. Science Hill Elementary's Proficiency Indicator is 80.6 and Science Hill Middle's Proficiency Indicator is 72.0.
The Separate Academic Indicator at the elementary and middle school level is made up of Science, Social Studies and Writing scores on a 0-125 scale. Science Hill Elementary's Separate Academic Indicator is 73.0 and Science Hill Middle's Separate Academic Indicator is 74.6. Growth includes Reading and Mathematics scores and English Language Proficiency ACCESS scores with a range of -150 to 150. Science Hill Elementary's Growth Score is 19.2 and Science Hill Middle School's Growth Score is 11.7.
When comparing all students tested scoring at the proficient and distinguished level from the 2017 results to the students scoring at the proficient and distinguished level in 2018, improvements were made at the third-, fourth-, fifth- and seventh-grade levels in reading, and at fifth- and seventh-grade levels in Mathematics and at fifth grade in Social Studies.
"We are never satisfied at Science Hill with where we are, because there is always room for improvement," said Dyehouse. "Our overall goal is to see all of our students reach proficiency in Reading and Math."