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Schools target non-English-speaking students to make grade

Jared Felkins Director of Content • Dec 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM

Last year, the Lebanon Special Schools District missed the mark when it came to test scores among non-English-speaking students.

This year, city schools are doing something about it.

Federal Programs Director Stan Blades told the school board Monday a program called Spalding is in its second year and appears to be seeing positive results. In 2011, each of the five Lebanon schools was targeted for improvement in Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act. New test scores are expected from the state Board of Education in November.

“[Spalding] involves the students seeing, saying, writing and learning, so it appeals to the senses,” Blades said. “English is one of the most difficult languages to speak, much less read and write.”

Blades said English Language Learner students make up about 9 percent or 290 of the 3,514 students enrolled in city schools. He said those numbers have remained steady over the past five years.

Blades said the Spalding program is equal to a master’s level degree for teachers and focuses on intensive reading intervention. He said math teachers also use it one day each week in their classes.

According to Blades, 21 students were within four points of proficiency, and had those students scored four points higher on tests, the system would have been proficient with federal standards.

“And the kids love it,” Blades said. “You would think it being so systematic they would be bored. They thrive.”

The board, along with director Scott Benson, also honored former Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe with a plaque during the Monday meeting.

“We want you to know how much we appreciate you and recognize you as a friend to education,” Benson said.

Accompanied by some of the county’s school resource officers, Ashe said the SRO program in Wilson County was one of the first two to start in Tennessee.

“Credit to the success of the program goes to the people who do it,” Ashe said. “We had the foresight to do this even before Columbine. The protection of our children is paramount.”

The board also:

• heard from Walter J. Baird Middle School eighth-grade social studies teacher Carrie Pfeiffer and students Amber Evans, Alexis Frye and Samantha Tarpley on a new program that teaches students intensive writing skills and how each applies it to learning.

• approved a new policy regarding multimedia use in the classroom. The policy said all multimedia must be provided by the school or be approved by the principal and must be used for education purposes.

• approved a new policy regarding safe relocation of students in the event of a physical altercations to include physical intervention or relocation.

• approved the annual review of section A of board policies. According to Benson, the policies only had minor changes to include up-to-date wording of terms and grammatical error corrections.

• In his report to the board, Benson said the school calendar committee is scheduled to meet Oct. 23 to put together a schedule for the upcoming school year.

• Benson also reported more than 100 students took advantage of reading and math intervention during fall break that ended Monday.

• Benson presented the latest enrollment report compiled Monday and said 3,514 students are enrolled in city schools, which is one student less than September’s report.

The board meets Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at the central office.

Director of content Jared Felkins can be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 13 or jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com.

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