With a classification of distinguished, the Harlan Independent School System was ranked 13th in the state scoring in the 93 percentile as a highest performing district. The Harlan Middle School was also ranked in the 92 percentile as a highest performing school with a distinguished classification.
“If you look at how many schools and districts are distinguished there’s not that many,” said Supervisor of Instruction Dr. James Greene III during a presentation to the Harlan Independent Board of Education on Thursday. “Even though our test scores overall are lower than they have been in the past, our schools and district look pretty good at this point in this new system.”
Five major components of the Unbridled Learning accountability model includes information about achievement, gap, growth, college/career readiness and graduation rate, which have been applied to test scores and other data for the first time for the 2011-2012 school year. Greene said he feels it’s “really important” for everyone to understand the new classifications in Unbridled Learning and what they mean.
Superintendent David Johnson said the new testing system is based on new state academic standards, which have been deemed more rigorous and demanding by state and local education officials.
Receiving a proficient classification, Greene said the Harlan High School ranked in the 87 percentile.
“Specifically, high school English did really well in the reading, receiving a proficient/distinguished ranking,” said Greene. “On-demand writing, both the 10th and 11th grades were 75 percent proficient/distinguished, which shows a lot of continuity there. They had very low novice scores. We had really good science and social studies scores in the middle school from fifth and eighth grades, which scored in the 85 percentile with a proficient/distinguished classification. The seventh grade science scored in the 82 percentile with a proficient classification. In fourth grade science, eighth grade social studies and 10th grade writing there were no novice scores. There are some areas which show really bright spots.”
Noting the Harlan Elementary School needs improvement, Greene said the school is only seven points from being proficient.
He said there are a lot of changes that resulted from these standards and now the district is “going to have to get everything realigned.”
He also said new this year is a K-3 review, which will look at how primary education is operated.
Greene told board members the Stanford 10 National Reference scores were higher than in the past and some of their scores were in the 80 percentile — “scores the school had never had before.” He said these scores show how the Harlan Independent compares to the nation.
On average, the statewide school overall score was in the 55.2 percentile. For elementary schools, the average was 57.3 percentile, for middle schools 53.5 percentile and for high schools 54.8 percentile.
“We haven’t lost ground, we’ve just moved to new ground,” said Greene. “I think sometimes people hear all this and they think, well, they’re not really doing well — but it’s not that we’re not really doing well, we’ve just moved into new territory and we’re aiming for a different target now from where we were before. Our kids are doing good solid work. They’re just being asked to do more challenging work than before.”
In other action:
*Certified Public Accountant Troy Gaw presented his completed district financial audit for 2012. He said no problems were found;
*Board members approved four architects being interviewed, who submitted letters of interest, for the district upcoming construction project at the elementary and high schools;
*Awarded the bid for lumber and supplies for 2012-2013 to Southern Wholesale in Harlan.
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