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School board meets on August 11

The Haywood County School Board met in regular session on August 11. Each school principal talked about the school openings and enrollment. In other business, board members approved five policies and heard about the achievement data from Superintendent Teresa Russell.

Total enrollment in the Haywood County School System is 3,224. Anderson Early Childhood Center has a total of 419 students. This includes 57 in Pre-kindergarten for 3-year-olds, 156 in Pre-K for 4-year-olds and 206 in Kindergarten. Haywood Elementary has a total of 722, 230 in first grade, 240 in second grade and 252 in third grade. At East Side Intermediate School, there are 226 fourth graders and 230 fifth graders, giving it a total of 456 students. Haywood Middle School has a total of 675 students. There are 215 in sixth grade, 249 in seventh grade and 211 in the eighth grade. Haywood High School has a total of 952 students. There are 289 ninth graders, 235 tenth graders, 228 eleventh graders and 200 seniors.

On second reading, board members approved five policies recommended by the Tennessee Board of Education.

Policy 5.117 is the Procedure for Granting Tenure to teachers.

Policy 5.201 describes the Separation Practices for Non-Tenured Teachers.

Policy 6.205 is about Student Assignments. This policy basically says that students, including those in kindergarten, shall attend the school to which they are assigned. Also it says that the principal shall be responsible for assigning all students to classes.

Policy 6.405 is titled Medicines and explains the procedure for administering medicine to students who are required to take non-prescription or prescription medication during school hours. Only the principal or the principal’s designee will assist in self-administration of the medication.

Policy 6.317 defines the job of the Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority and who appoints this authority. “A Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA) shall conduct appeals for students who have been suspended for more than 10 days of school. The Board shall appoint the DHA, which shall consist of five members, (maximum number must not exceed total membership of Board) at least one of whom shall be a licensed employee of the board, and such appointments are for one-year terms and subject to reappointment. Board members shall not serve on the DHA.”

Later in the meeting, Board members approved the Superintendent’s request that the current members of the DHA be reappointed.

In other business, Board members approved a list of teachers recommended for full tenure. They also heard the quarterly report on the Catherine Truss Colhoun Scholarship Fund. The balance is $208,212.96. They approved a 5 percent supplement for the District 504 Coordinator, and the Tennessee Risk Management Trust Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement. A request for space in the Carver-Dunbar building for expansion of the Carver-Dunbar Museum was also approved.

Board members approved the recommended schedule for Homecoming on October 2. The Friday event will be a half-day of school with dismissal at 11:30. Tailgating will be set up in the football stadium parking lot from 11:30 to 1:30. The Homecoming Parade begins at 1:30, and the game kickoff is at 7 p.m. against Hardin County.

To close the meeting, Superintendent Russell gave a report on the schools’ achievement data. According to the report from the state that includes achievement and gap closure, Haywood County Schools’ final determination is Intermediate, which is one step higher than the district’s 2014 determination. “It was through very focused efforts that our district was able to achieve this determination, and we are very proud of the hard work on behalf of our teachers and our students,” Mrs. Russell said. (Please see the article below for more details about the achievement data.)

The next scheduled Board meeting will be held on September 8 at 6 p.m.


HCS Achievement Data and District Status

The Accountability Model consists of two major components- Achievement and Gap Closure.  A district’s final determination status is determined by meeting several targets throughout the model.  The determinations are Exemplary, Intermediate, In Need of Subgroup Improvement and In Need of Improvement.

Achievement targets are based on the number of students who score proficient or advanced on state tests in certain subjects in grades 3-8 and high school End of Course, as well as graduation rate.  There are 11 possible targets to meet in order for a district to pass the achievement component.  Haywood County met 8 of the 11 targets.  In addition to meeting these benchmarks, the district must also show improvement in two separate pathways from the prior year’s data.  Haywood County passed both improvement pathways and we achieved the highest achievement status- ACHIEVE.    Overall, our district continues to score higher in math than in reading, which is consistent with the state of Tennessee.  Our high school showed some tremendous growth in Algebra I and Algebra II, as did some of our elementary and middle school grades in math.  Our reading scores continue to lag behind and we saw a slight decline in our 3-8 composite scores, as well as in our high school English assessments.

Gap closure targets are based on the performance gaps between certain subgroups who are historically underperforming groups and groups of students who tend to score higher.  An example of this would be the gap between Students with Disabilities vs. Students without Disabilities, or Economically Disadvantaged Students vs. Non-economically Disadvantaged students.  The goal is to close the achievement gap between the two groups of students in specific subjects.  Again, in order to meet the goal you have to meet the majority of the targets set for your district.  Haywood County did not meet the majority of the gap closure goals, meeting only 4 of the 11.  However, interesting to note is that the gaps for all of our groups are far less significant than the average state gap.  For many of our groups we missed our target by a very small number.  This is an area of focus for us as we enter into this new year.  The second part of the gap closure component is the subgroup improvement test which looks at improvement in at least half of the subjects for the subgroups.  There are two pathways for improvement and HCS met both pathways.   Our gap closure status is Miss: Intermediate Possible.

When you combine the achievement status and the gap closure status  you get our district determination for 2015.  Haywood County Schools final determination is Intermediate, which is one step higher than our 2014 determination of In Need of Subgroup Improvement.  It was through very focused efforts that our district was able to achieve this determination and we are very proud of the hard work on behalf of our teachers and our students.  This is the final year of this accountability model as our state assessment changes from the TCAP as we know it to the new TNReady online assessment in English Language Arts and Math.  We will also administer an operational online Social Studies test, as well as the traditional paper-pencil Science test.  Our administrators and teachers have spent a great deal of time preparing for this new assessment model and we look forward to a great year of classroom instruction leading up to these assessments.