(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – The Kentucky Department of Education’s state assessment for 2017-18 reveals several areas where Washington County students are performing well. Across the district, students are outperforming the state average in elementary reading, and at the middle school grades in reading, mathematics, social studies, and writing. At the high school, Washington County is among the state’s top five schools for graduation rate.
Data over the past few years indicates that we have positive growth trends in elementary reading, mathematics, writing, and language mechanics as well as middle school reading, mathematics, and language mechanics. At the high school, we are continuing to improve performance on the ACT reading test and on the state’s writing and language mechanics exams.
The new state accountability system classifies schools into three categories: Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI), Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI), and Other. The state designates schools as CSI if they are in the bottom 5% academically or have a graduation rate below 80%. None of the schools in Washington County received CSI designation. Schools are designated as TSI if at least one student group performs as low as the CSI schools. Interim Commissioner Wayne Lewis explains TSI by saying, “To be clear, a school’s designation as TSI does not mean the school is failing or a low-performing school. It does mean that work remains to be done with raising the achievement levels for all groups of students, and it makes reducing the disparities between the performance of student groups a top priority.” North Washington Elementary School was designated as a TSI school for grades K-5 due to gaps in performance of their students with disabilities. All other schools in Washington County were designated as “other” indicating that they do not fall within the CSI or TSI categories.
According to Principal Amanda Mattingly, “North Washington Elementary School performed higher than the state average in reading, writing, mathematics, and social studies. NWES will continue to build on that performance by focusing on individual student growth.” Mattingly further explains, “We have kids who are willing to work hard each day, parents who support our school, and teachers and staff who possess the passion and skill needed to be successful. With those key pieces, we will progress toward our goals.”
According to Ty Howard, principal at Washington County Middle School, “Our staff is very pleased with the increase in the percentage of students who scored proficient or distinguished in reading, mathematics, social studies, and writing. Although there is room for improvement, the student performance is encouraging and we hope it will provide the motivation necessary to propel us in continued academic growth.”
Washington County Elementary School “focused on culture and climate as well as student-led strategies” during the 2017-18 school year, according to Interim Principal Holly Elmore. In order to continue progress this year, WCES teachers “have an emphasis on developing their literacy and mathematics programs and meeting clearly identified grade level learning goals.”
Malissa Hutchins, principal at Washington County High School, states, “We are pleased that our average ACT Composite score went up over half a point. Although English and reading made good gains, we know there is still room for improvement. WCHS will focus on implementing instructional practices in all courses in order to continue to grow as a school. We have some of the best career and technical education programs in our area and will continue to push students to be successful on CTE assessments as well.”
“Washington County School District will continue to make progress through committed efforts in disciplinary literacy and mathematical practices. Our instruction will be aligned to state and national standards and we will work to clarify the criteria for success at all grade levels and in all courses,” stated Cherry Boyles, Chief Academic Officer.
“As a district, we are working to learn and adjust to the new accountability system,” says WCSD Superintendent Dr. J. Robin Cochran. “With the analysis of the data to date, we have identified areas for celebration as well as targeted areas for growth. We have no doubt that staff, students, parents, and the community are working diligently toward achieving student success.”