Obion County Board of Education
December 1, 2008

Agenda Item: VIII.E.

Discussion of the District's 2008 State Report Card

Background Information:

On or about November 10, 2008, the State Department of Education released the State Report Card and the Report Cards of all School Systems in Tennessee. Obion County’s Report Card was very satisfying. I cannot say enough about the excellent staff that we have assembled. All team members, instructional supervisors, school administrators, teachers, and support staff, know and perform their respective duties in harmony and with unprecedented cooperation. All team members take pride in their performance and, best of all, care about each student that walks through the school doors every day. In addition, the County Commission has remained true in their dedication to education and deserve due credit in insuring that our schools are adequately funded. It is my true belief that we have “turned the tide” and I expect that we will only get better with time. Our students deserve great praise and always seem rise to the occasion and meet or exceed expectations set by their teachers.

Over the past couple of years, we have integrated instruction programs within our curriculum that are already showing results. The 2008 – 2009 school year marks the second year that we have had Pre-K classes in all elementary schools. In 2007 – 2008 we began the Reading Recovery Program by hiring and training a Reading Recovery Program Director. Although the lack of continued increases in State funding has hampered our progress, she is now in the Obion County Schools full-time and the program is fully operational at Black Oak and Hillcrest Elementary Schools. The Balanced Literacy Program is very complimentary to our curriculum and our teachers are doing a wonderful job in implementing this program into their daily activities. The K–2 TCAP Summary Report is a comparison of scores in Reading, Language, and Math over the past two academic years. Page 1 of this report compares Normal Curve Equivalent National Percentiles (NCENP) scores from the 2006 – 2007 school year to the 2007 – 2008 school year. As you can see, our K–2 students are performing quite well as compared to their peers across the Nation. Page 2 of this report indicates the percentage of students who scored at the total proficient level as compared to the percentage of students who scored below the proficiency level. As with any system, and no matter how good our overall scores are, there will always be areas in need of improvement. However, the programs which have been implemented, Pre-K, Reading Recovery, and Balanced Literacy, will no doubt close the achievement gaps.

System administrators have analyzed and compared our scores to the following surrounding school systems: Dyer County, Dyersburg City, Gibson County SSD, Lake County, Trenton SSD, Union City Schools, and Weakley County. The teachers and students behind these scores deserve all the credit. Expectations are set by our teachers, and expectations are met by our students. Although our scores compare well to these school systems, we cannot rest on prior achievements and accomplishments. We must strive each and every day to get better. Our students deserve no less than our very best.

In analyzing our report card, administrators have listed our areas of strength, as well as areas that need improvement. Even though recent reports are not complimentary of Tennessee’s testing standards, Obion County is among the top school systems in the State. Based on Tennessee standards, which are the only readily available standards to make comparisons, we earned straight A’s in student achievement and teacher value-added. There are not many school systems in the State that can make that statement. Our strengths are fairly self-explanatory, but I want to emphasize three (3) areas for which we have been paying particular attention to over the past three (3) years:

  1. Although listed as an area of need, which it is, our graduation rate has increased each year: 2006 – 79.9%; 2007 – 85.3% (current year report card); 2008 – 87.2% (will be on next year’s report card) – the State goal is 90% and we will attain this goal. The Freshmen Academy, implemented during the 2007 – 2008 school year, appears to be showing positive results, which will influence our graduation rates going forward.
  2. For three (3) straight years, our student achievement scores in grades 3–8 have increased in all areas tested: reading/language arts, social studies, science, and math.
  3. In math, all subgroups scored above the State average. Math has historically been a weakness; however, we are making progress. Accelerated Math has been implemented in the elementary schools, which, along with our dedicated math teachers, will strengthen our math scores.
Further analysis of our Report Card will be presented at the Board meeting. In summary, I personally thank everyone involved in the accomplishments made over the past three (3) years: Board members, county commissioners, instructional supervisors, school administrators, teachers, and all support staff. Without everyone performing at their very best everyday, these accomplishments would not be possible.

Staff Recommendation:

This agenda item requires no action by the Board.