Superintendent's Message -
The Tennessee Department of Education's July 2015 release of state assessment data reveals that Lauderdale County Schools met 10 of 11 identified achievement targets. Lauderdale County Schools also achieved the highest possible value-added growth measure rating of level 5 and was among the top districts in the state for meeting achievement and academic growth targets. These results have earned Lauderdale County Schools the status of "Intermediate" for the 2015-2016 school year.
Lauderdale County was one of only three school districts in the state to reach Exemplary status for its student performance in 2013-2014. Although the district did not reach the status of Exemplary for student performance in 2014-2015, significant progress was made toward the goals set through Tennessee's accountability system. Intermediate status does not assign Lauderdale County with a specific area of needed improvement, but rather recognizes the district for meeting goals and encourages continued work toward improving student academic outcomes. This progress is a direct result of the combined efforts of administrators, teachers, support staff, and students, along with the support of parents and the community.
In Tennessee, school districts are measured on their ability to raise overall achievement and close gaps between groups of students. Tennessee created its own accountability system replacing No Child Left Behind's accountability measures called Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP. The system also aligns with the state's goal of becoming the fastest improving in the nation.
• Rather than expecting all schools to meet certain proficiency targets, the new system focuses on growth and improvement, recognizing that schools are starting from various levels of proficiency.
•Every year, the system requires a focus on ensuring growth for all students while closing achievement gaps by providing faster growth for those students who are furthest behind.
• Unlike No Child Left Behind, which was primarily focused on accountability at the school level, Tennessee's accountability system positions districts at key points of action to help schools improve.
• To assist districts in growing their overall achievement and narrowing gaps, the state's Centers of Regional Excellence, or CORE offices, are equipped with data specialists, content specialists, and support staff. These centers help districts learn from each other and target their intervention to the subjects and student populations that need it most.
These accountability measures help to ensure that school districts are focused on raising proficiency levels, narrowing achievement gaps, and ensuring growth for all students.
Although the state's accountability system does not directly measure Kindergarten through 2nd Grade data, Lauderdale County showed large gains in both Reading and Math skills in the primary grades. Ripley Primary and Halls Elementary both demonstrated significant gains on the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-10) with their Kindergarten through 2nd graders. These K-2 students made some of the highest mean NCE gains ever for Lauderdale County students taking the SAT-10. Mean NCEs are a comparison of our student's performance in key areas of reading and math development to that of thousands of other students across the nation. Pre-K students in the county also showed a mastery of skills on the Phonemic Awareness Literacy Screening benchmark (PALS). An overwhelming majority of Pre-K students met and exceeded the developmental standards measured through PALS by mid-year.
While we are pleased with our progress over the past few years, Lauderdale County Schools clearly recognizes the need to focus on continuous improvement and growth in student learning. During the 2015-2016 school year, we will work hard to deliver instruction and respond appropriately as students need intervention on essential skills.
Our schools will continue to clarify and commit to teaching the state approved curriculum standards while ensuring that students gain the necessary basic literacy and math skills they need to be successful. According to research, teachers are most effective in helping all students learn when they are clear on what their students must know and be able to do as a result of the course, grade level, or unit of instruction. As noted in the school district's mission, it is our responsibility to provide each child with the education and tools needed to be productive citizens.
Shawn Kimble, Superintendent
Lauderdale County Schools