Schools hit 'average' scores

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The Cannon County Schools System received satisfactory grades on the recent 2012 Tennessee Report Card data released by the Department of Education but Director of Schools Barbara Parker says acceptable leaves room for improvement.

Cannon County earned grades of C or better in seven areas, including As or Bs in four categories.

“I know average might not be what we want but a ‘C’ means you are doing exactly what the State wants you to do,” Director of Schools Barbara Parker said. “We are not where we need to be, but we are steadily making progress. We are a system that is improving slowly but steadily. I am proud of the progress we are making, but we need to be progressing at a faster pace.”

Cannon County Schools met achievement goals set by the State in the following areas: third-grade math, seventh-grade math, third-grade reading/language arts, third-through-eighth grade aggregate math, third-through-eighth grade aggregate reading/ language arts and Algebra I.

The system earned A’s for eighth-grade and 11th-grade writing and B’s in social studies and fifth-grade writing.

Cannon County Schools put a great emphasis on math and those efforts were revealed in testing. For value added or growth,  Cannon County’s status in third-through-eighth grade math rose from a C to an A.

“I am very pleased with the progress shown in third-to-eighth grade math,” Parker said. “TLJ Consultants were in the classrooms observing teachers and making suggestions about instructional techniques. We had grade levels meet to form pacing guides and bench mark assess-ments that were given frequently to evaluate student progress. We sent teachers to Common Core math training and to other workshops.”

Parker said a similar emphasis will be placed on reading/ language arts, as well as Algebra I and II, Biology and English in regard to high school subjects. Cannon County Schools continue to perform well in writing, earning an A for 11th grade writing and eighth-grade writing; however, the system produced a grade of C in grades 3-8 reading/language arts. CCHS did not meet its goal in English II.

“We have consultants from High Schools That Work coming to CCHS working with teachers on formative assessment lessons in math,” Parker said. “They are beginning to work on literacy with English teachers, and also cross-curricular assignments for all teachers to work with students on literacy. We have purchased a benchmark assessment tool that will be used to monitor student progress at the high school.”

The only other area where the system failed to reach its goal was graduation rate; however, it is a tricky category.

The graduation rate is based on the previous year under NCLB so the data for the 2012 Report Card is 83.5 percent in 2011. CCHS’ graduation rate in 2012 was 89 percent and will be reflected in the 2012 Report Card so the system already has demonstrated gain. The attendance rate at CCHS is 94.6. The state goal is 93 percent.

“CCHS teachers and administration have focused on graduation rate for a number of years,” Parker said. “In 2009, the graduation rate was 72.7. In 2012, the graduation rate is 89, almost reaching the state target of 90 percent. It is a given fact that we can’t teach a student if he/she is not attending school, so attendance definitely correlates to good performance on tests.”

Having reached state goals in most areas, Cannon County Schools will seek to build on past gains and realize additional growth in 2013.
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