Both Wilson County and Lebanon schools received favorable grades Wednesday when the Tennessee Department of Education released its annual report card, but each realized it has some gaps to fill.
Each system and school receives grades annually on the state report card in four core subject areas in two distinct categories, "achievement,” or percentage of students reaching a proficient or advanced performance level on TCAP tests, and "value-added," or the amount of growth over previous years' scores.
In TCAP achievement, Wilson County schools scored all A’s in the four categories tested, math, reading, science and social studies. Wilson County schools also scored all A’s in value-added growth standard in the four subjects.
Wilson County schools also met all 11 “achievement” annual measurable objectives as set by the state, resulting in a district “achieve” rating. Wilson County students improved in each area except English III.
“Wilson County Schools fared very well,” said Wilson County Director of Schools Tim Setterlund. “We met our goals in all 11 categories. We had straight A’s in grades 3-8 in achievement and grades 4-8 growth.
“Our ACT scores improved again. We exceeded the state goal for graduation rate. We were above 95 percent.”
Setterlund gave credit to teachers for their hard work last year.
The governor released last week Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the nation in education,” he said. “We are among the best schools in the state. That’s pretty profound. Our teachers have helped the state of Tennessee become the fastest improving state.”
Wilson County’s graduation rate remained above the state requirement at 95.1 percent. Two years ago, it was the highest in the state.
All Lebanon schools’ subject areas in both categories show continued improvement over last year's scores.
In TCAP achievement, Lebanon schools received two As and two Bs. Scoring an A in both science and social studies with a B in math and reading language arts. Even though the grade is the same as last year's, the percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced increased.
Lebanon schools also met all six "achievement" annual measureable objectives as set by the state, resulting in a district “achieve” rating.
In value-added, Lebanon schools recorded individual student growth scores, receiving one A and three B’s. The A was in math, while a B was earned in each of the other three, reading, science and social studies. Lebanon schools’ growth scores are showing above state expectations, especially in math and science improving from a C to an A in math and from a D to a B in science.
For the AMO accountability measures, systems and schools are given a "one to five" growth score rating. Lebanon schools’ system-wide growth score reached a level of "five." The system composite score, literacy score, numeracy score and the combined literacy and numeracy scores were all fives. In 2012, the system composite score was a three.
"We are very proud of our teachers and our students,” said Lebanon Director of Schools Scott Benson. “Each teacher's dedication to ensuring student learning in a compassionate, caring atmosphere has provided an effective means to help our children be successful."
Gap closures, especially students with disabilities, proved to be a challenge for both Wilson County and Lebanon schools this past year. Since the SWD subgroup missed both the math and reading AMO targets, both systems were among the 96 districts that received an "in need of subgroup improvement” grade.
“The stakes will continue to increase and we must grow at a faster pace to continue reaching our AMOs in the future,” Benson said. “We are prepared and eager to help our students reach this milestone. Especially with students with disabilities is a challenge, and we want to close that gap.
“Even though we are meeting the goals and our scores are going up, our students aren’t achieving as high as we want them to, and we want to address that area as well.”
Setterlund said more could be done to help students who are economically disadvantaged, limited language proficient or students with disabilities.
“Each year, our goal is to close that gap and raise those students who are underperforming,” he said. “If everybody is performing at 5 percent above goal, these students should be at 10 percent above goal.