Warren County Public Schools is moving ahead after the launch of a new 5-star school rating system this month, with its board of education meeting Thursday to review next steps.
During the board’s regular monthly meeting, District Assessment Coordinator Cindy Beals offered an overview of the district’s 2018-19 state assessment results.
The new accountability system, which assigns schools an overall star rating based on several factors, prevents schools from earning top marks if they have significant academic achievement gaps between student groups.
“We did have a couple of our middle schools that dropped from a 5-star (rating) to a 4-star because of significant gaps,” Beals said. “It’s definitely something we’re looking at.”
Drakes Creek Middle School and South Warren Middle School were docked one star because of their achievement gaps for English-learner students and students with disabilities. South Warren High School also saw its overall star rating reduced to 4 stars because of achievement gaps.
Only 4-star and 5-star schools have their ratings reduced for achievement gaps and the gaps must be statistically significant to be counted under the system.
Each school’s star rating – along with the performance factors that inform a school’s star rating and a host of other data – is available online at kyschoolreportcard.com.
Beals was joined by J’Nora Anderson, the district’s academic improvement coach, who outlined steps the district is taking to improve. That includes assembling “standards-focused teams” that review relevant state standards.
“These teams are teacher leaders from each of the schools,” Anderson said. “They’re coming out and they are meeting with our literacy and math coaches, and they are spending a day going through the reading and math standards. Those were revised last year and this year is an implementation year for those.”
Anderson said effort includes multiple sessions to align instruction and district common assessments with those revised state standards.
The district is also training its staff to be “culturally responsive” and to ensure that all students can access a school’s curriculum regardless of their academic needs.
School leaders recently gathered at the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative to dig into their school’s assessment data and ways to improve.
“Starting tomorrow, we’re going to be meeting with each school leadership team individually to work with them on their school improvement plan to make sure that it is very intentional and focused on what they need to do in their particular school,” Anderson said.
WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton described his district’s results as a “snapshot” of what the district is doing to improve performance for all students. The district has more English learner students than it’s ever had in its history, he said, and educators are constantly battling to level the playing field for all of the district’s students.
“That being said, we know that until we reach every student, until every student is proficient in reading and math … we know that the work is still ahead of us,” Clayton said.