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graphic from Magoffin County Schools

SALYERSVILLE – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released the 2022-2023 School Report Card this week, providing vital information about specific districts and student performance throughout the year, with Magoffin County Schools showing improvements in many of the indicators KDE uses to measure student performance.

Magoffin County Schools Federal Program Director, DAC, and Supervisor of Instruction Jennifer Howard prepared a summary of the district’s scores for the Independent, breaking down the highs and lows of the reports for each school.

North Magoffin Elementary
North Magoffin Elementary jumped up one performance level according to the KDE’s report, going from the orange category in 2022 to the yellow category in 2023. The school showed significant increases in reading and math scores, and an increase in science, social studies and writing scores among all students. The school did show a decrease in the quality of school climate and safety, based on the students’ responses.

Salyersville Grade School
Salyersville Grade School remained in the orange overall performance category, showing increases in reading and math scores, as well as in the quality of school climate and safety, but had drops in their science, social studies, and writing scores.

South Magoffin Elementary
The biggest categorical increase in the Magoffin County School District occurred with South Magoffin Elementary, with the school jumping from orange last year to green this year. SME showed significant increases in reading and math scores, as well as increases in science, social studies and writing, and in the quality of school climate and safety. The Cougars were only a few points shy of KDE’s highest rating of blue.

Herald Whitaker Middle School
The middle school dropped one level, from orange to red, with HWMS demonstrating increases in reading, math, science, social studies and writing scores among students with disabilities, as well as an increase in the quality of school climate and safety. The school dripped in reading, math, social studies, science and writing among all students.

Magoffin County High School
Magoffin County High School held steady in the orange category, as compared to last year. MCHS is due to increase in exited TSI (Targeted Support and Improvement) in performance by students with disabilities. The school demonstrated an increase in science, social studies, writing, the quality of school climate and safety, and the graduation rate, while also maintaining scores in reading, math and post-secondary readiness.

Looking at Improvements
According to Superintendent Chris Meadows, the improvements in student performance are contributed to strategies implemented to address learning losses stemming from the pandemic. A particularly effective strategy used in all our schools during the 2022-2023 academic year involved instructing students in small groups tailored to their individual learning needs. This approach involved both retired educators and recent graduates, who worked with students to enhance their reading and math skills, thereby expediting their progress.

Additionally, to meet the needs of our students with disabilities at the middle and high school levels, a co-teaching model was utilized. This model featured the collaborative effort of a content-specific teacher and a special education teacher trained in instructing students with disabilities.

Kelli Isaac, Director of Special Education for Magoffin County Schools, coordinated a visit to Pulaski County High School, a Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) designated hub school, to observe their successful co-teaching program. Teachers and administrators from both Magoffin County High School and Herald Whitaker Middle School had the opportunity to observe classrooms effectively implementing the co-teaching model.

Regarding this strategy, Mrs. Isaac commented, “The implementation of a co-teaching strategy allows for differentiation, increases student engagement, and provides additional support for teachers and students. This model has been an integral part of MCHS’s success in moving the subpopulations of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) out of the Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) category.”

The Challenges & Next Steps
The 2023 Kentucky Accountability data has unveiled a range of educational achievements in our local schools, as well as the challenges they face. While some schools have made remarkable strides, the district recognizes that others are still on their journey to success. In Magoffin County School District’s pursuit of educational excellence, it’s important to acknowledge that not all schools have reached their desired milestones. According to district staff, dedicated efforts are being made to steer them in the right direction. With a focus on enhancing student outcomes and fostering academic growth, the district has initiated a range of strategic measures to ensure that every student receives the best possible education.

The following initiatives are in place to bring about transformative change and elevate educational standards in the district:
1. Attendance Campaign: An attendance campaign was launched in August by Magoffin County School’s Director of Pupil Personnel, Justin Bailey, to address low attendance rates across the district, recognizing the vital role that good attendance plays in student success.
2. Steele Reese Grant and Partnership with PIMSER: A generous $91,000 Steele Reese grant has made a partnership with PIMSER (Partnership Institute for Mathematics and Science Education Reform) possible. This partnership will provide valuable professional learning opportunities for building mathematical thinking skills in grades K-8. The grant will also provide teaching resources and materials to teachers in grades K-8.

3. Reintroduction of Accelerated Reader: Accelerated Reader is back in the district and will be used to encourage more reading, promoting literacy skills among students.

4. New Diagnostic and Interim Assessments: The district has adopted new diagnostic and interim assessments to assess the mastery of standards and plan interventions, ensuring that students receive targeted support when needed.

5. New Teacher Program: The district is implementing a new teacher program, leveraging content coaches and retired teachers to coach new educators, thereby building teacher effectiveness. Educational cooperatives in the region are providing experts in content knowledge and instructional strategies to work with our teachers with 0-1 year of experience.

6. Investment in High-Quality Instructional Resources: Substantial funding has been allocated to acquire high-quality instructional resources, including math and reading textbooks, with science and social studies resources to be purchased next.

7. Professional Learning for Educators: Teachers in the district are receiving professional learning based on survey results and district walkthrough findings, ensuring that their professional development aligns with the district’s goals and teachers’ needs.

8. Deeper Learning Coaches: Each school in the district has a deeper learning coach to support and enhance instructional practices. Coaches are in a 3 year training program with Dr. Harvey Silver and the Thoughtful Classroom Team.

9. Kentucky Reading Academies and LETRS Training: Several elementary teachers are enrolled in the Kentucky Reading Academies and will complete LETRS training on early literacy, equipping them with advanced teaching strategies based on the science of reading research.

10. KDE-Funded Autism Grant: The district has been awarded a Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)-funded autism grant to address the needs of autistic students by providing training to teachers in effective strategies for working with this population.

11. Orton Gillingham Reading Program at Salyersville Grade School: Salyersville Grade School has introduced the Orton Gillingham reading program this fall. This program employs flexible student groupings, allowing for personalized instruction to address individual needs in literacy.

12. Online Collaborative Communities: Online collaborative communities have been established to facilitate the sharing of instructional ideas among elementary teachers, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

Numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning revolve around the use of high-quality instructional materials and research-based instructional practices. The district actively pursued high-quality professional development to empower teachers, enabling them to make the most of these resources and enhance their classroom practices.

Jennifer Howard, District Assessment Coordinator and Supervisor of Instruction commented, “These high-quality instructional resources and tailored professional learning are making a real difference in our classrooms. Our educators are thrilled to have these tools and knowledge, and it’s evident in how engaged and excited our students are. Visits to classrooms are revealing that teachers are using their new learning and resources to engage students in new and more meaningful ways.”

In the pursuit of enhancing school achievement, Magoffin County DPP Justin Bailey emphasizes the critical importance of student attendance and engagement, stating: “Improving school achievement begins with ensuring that our students are present and engaged. When we launched our new attendance initiative this year, our goal was not to count heads in the classroom, but to count on the future success of our students. We believe that through consistent attendance, our students can begin to bridge the gap between aspiration and achievement.”

Superintendent Chris Meadows expressed his pride in the accomplishments and his commitment to address the challenges. He stated, “Our schools have demonstrated dedication and progress in various areas. The results provide us with valuable insights into our strengths and opportunities for improvement. As a district, we are focused on building upon our successes and implementing strategic measures to ensure that all students receive the highest quality education. It truly takes the collaboration of all stakeholders to engage, educate, and empower all students.”

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