BOE discusses test scores

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SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County School Board met in regular session on Thursday, November 17, discussing test scores.

The board heard from Garland Yates of the Herald Whitaker Middle School, who explained that the middle school met their goal for 2016, however, they are still classified as a “needs improvement and progressing” school. 

Yates said when comparing the 2015 and 2016 test scores, HWMS didn’t make a large enough increase, but they showed growth in each area except reading. 

He said they have identified one major problem is the number of students scoring at the novice level, so their focus is shifting to novice reduction, particularly in math and on-demand writing. He said they also has a committee working to align the curriculum to address the gap. 

Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton noted that the test scores were maintained when the high school and middle school were sharing facilities, and he is interested in what the results will be this year now that they are in two different buildings.

With the change in facilities, Yates said they are very optimistic and the teachers and staff have a lot of energy.

Magoffin County High School Principal Chris Meadows explained that MCHS is celebrating receiving the “proficient” label and “progressing.” He said the high school met all three state goals in the spring 2016 testing, explaining that they high school students are tested on different levels than the other grades. 

Meadows said that over the past three years they have shown gains except in math and language mechanics, which they have started focusing on ways to achieve novice reduction.

He also explained that the drop in math scores is devastating because they have hard-working teachers and when they look at the results, the scores do not reflect the students’ abilities.

One of the ways to offset this, Meadows said they would like to implement a tutoring program in hopes that it could offset outside factors to the scores, explaining that it comes down to a motivation issues.

In order to see improvements to the junior ACT scores, Meadows said they are doing more ACT practice tests before they do the test the counts in the school’s scores. 

Meadows said they are also networking with other educators to compare ideas and emulate successful districts, observing and asking what they did. 

Superintendent Helton said that they have received a banner honoring the district as a proficient district from the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, explaining that this is something to be proud of and thanking former Superintendent Stanley Holbrook, the board members, teachers, principals and central office staff for their contribution to that success.

Helton also thanked the principals, teachers and staff at each of the five schools in the district for hosting a veterans group for Veterans Day.

“The children were so well behaved and the programs they put on were very encouraging,” Helton said. “They did a great job making the vets feel at home.”

Helton also updated the board on a central office staff’s recovery. He said Tracy Fletcher was in an accident a couple of weeks ago and her injuries were pretty severe. He said she has a long road, but is doing well.

“We wish her well and our prayers go with her,” Helton said.

Helton also thanked the local Masonic lodge for sponsoring a coat drive at the elementary schools and middle school. 

The board heard updates from community member Brent Patrick, who had donated an iPad to be used as an incentive prize for a perfect attendance program at the high school. 

On Thursday, November 17, they presented the iPad. MCHS Principal Meadows explained that around 100 students were eligible to be in the drawing for the prize. He said they called each of them to the cafeteria and gave them two-sided numbered tickets, then called all students to the gymnasium. The eligible students put their tickets in for the drawing and Patrick drew out the winning ticket. He said the whole thing took about 10 to 15 minutes, but the whole school seemed to enjoy it. 

Patrick has pledged to donate a similar-priced item to be used next month for another drawing.

Thanksgiving Break will run Wednesday through Friday this week, Helton said.