Thesixth meeting of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, August 21, 2001, at 1:15 PM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Harry Moberly, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David K. Karem, Co-Chair; Representative Harry Moberly, Co-Chair; Senators Lindy Casebier, Daniel Kelly, and Tim Shaughnessy; Representatives Mary Lou Marzian, Frank Rasche, and Mark Treesh.
Guests: Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools; Judith Gambill, Kentucky Education Association; J.C. Lindle and Bonnie Johnson, University of Kentucky; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Libby Marshall, Kentucky School Boards Association; Sandra Bush, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System; Tony Sholar, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Jo Carole Ellis, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; Mark Wallace, Michelle Pedigo, Katina Buster, Linda Priore, Beth Thompson, Karen Marcum, Derek Atkinson, and Kip Crowder, Barren County Middle School; Linda Edds, Jodi Brackett, and Shannon Lindsey, McLean County Middle School.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Evelyn Gibson, Anne Armstrong and Kelley McQuerry.
Senator Karem moved for approval of the minutes from the July 12, 2001 meeting and Senator Casebier seconded the motion. The motion carried by voice vote.
Representative Moberly introduced Dr. Ken Henry, director, Office of Education Accountability (OEA), to give the report from that office. Dr. Henry said that they were planning informational meetings at each of the regional service centers to inform teachers, administrators, along with the general public about how the Office of Education Accountability operates. Dr. Henry reported on the personnel changes in the Office of Education Accountability. He said that Bryan Jones had replaced Ava Crowe, as General Counsel for the Office of Education Accountability. Dr. Henry said that a paralegal position was also going to be added to the office. Dr. Henry said that the first draft of the annual report would be ready for the committee in October. He also asked the committee to give approval to conduct the annual study of the principal selection process.
Representative Treesch moved and Representative Rasche seconded a motion to approve the study. The motion carried by voice vote.
Dr. Henry said that there have been some problems with the local district hiring process in the last few months. Senator Karem said that the Office should seek advice from Kevin Noland, legal counsel for the Department of Education. Representative Moberly said the committee could not answer a question about that issue without background information. He said that there should be advance notice on policy questions with background information for the committee.
Senator Kelly said that the committee has responsibility over the Office of Education Accountability and that any request of the committee should be presented in a memorandum with the question along with background information from legal counsel. He also said that any type of public outreach program should be approved by the committee. Dr. Henry said that it had not been approved by the committee, but that it had been previously discussed. Dr. Henry said that he has a concern that the public is not aware of the role of the Office of Education Accountability and how people can contact the office.
Senator Kelly said that the approach was fine, but he felt that it should be presented to the committee for approval. He also said that there should be an Office of Education Accountability work plan to determine that obligations are carried out and that the office has the same priorities as the committee. The work plan should be presented with the final report in October. Representative Moberly agreed with Senator Kelly and said that the work plan with objectives should be mailed to the members before the meeting and then a presentation can be made at the meeting.
Senator Kelly said that the statute requires a study to analyze, verify, and validate the state assessment program through external indicators. He asked if that was going to be part of the annual report that would be presented in October. Dr. Henry said that study has not been done but will be outlined in the work plan.
Representative Moberly said that the study of promotion to higher grades would continue and that the committee invited two middle schools that have scored high on the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) and have a high percentage of students on free and reduced lunch. He introduced Mark Wallace, Barren County Middle School Principal and Michelle Pedigo, Secondary Supervisor of Instruction and the 2001 National Middle School Principal of the Year to speak about the goals and accomplishments of Barren County Middle School.
Mr. Mark Wallace introduced Katina Buster, Instructional Specialist; Linda Priore, Guidance Counselor; Beth Thompson, Language Arts Teacher; Karen Marcum, Science Teacher; Derek Atkinson, Social Studies Teacher; and Kip Crowder, Music Teacher. Mr. Wallace and the other faculty described the factors that make Barren County Middle School successful. It has been designated as a “National Middle School to Watch” because of it’s academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, and social equity. “Pride, Teamwork, and a Tradition of Excellence” is the motto at Barren County Middle School. Some of the other key elements are:
· Continuous, effective leadership
· Academic excellence through varied curriculum
· Parent and community involvement
· Teacher teaming
· Analyzing and enhancing the curriculum
· Clubs and activities
· Information on demand for parents to see improvement in their children
· The Clubhouse which provides each student a place to find their niche
· The Junior Guard program, a disciplinary program to get students on track.
Mr. Wallace said that some of the factors that have contributed to Barren County Middle School’s success is a positive school climate, academic excellence from students, developmental responsiveness, district level support, transitional planning and consolidating plans as a driving force.
Mr. Wallace said that some of the future strategies for the school are conducting self-audits, student choice in demonstrating learning, focus on writing, integration of technology, and having a community of learners that can help each other. He also said that the faculty plans to have programs in place such as building pathways to proficiency with all students, continuation of current initiatives, and to spreading leadership among the entire staff.
Ms. Katina Buster said that academic excellence has also been a success factor for Barren County. She said that sixth and seventh grades have transitional meetings where they review their needs assessment and analyze the data. She also said that the Barren County Middle School’s ranking has gone from 141 to 27 in just five years and that most test scores exceed regional and state averages. She also said that a higher level of thinking along with integrated instruction is another key factor.
Mr. Kip Crowder said that some of the academic connections that are incorporated are advanced writing, real-life reading, history, geometry, algebra, chorus, band, Latin, advanced technology, art, introduction to the arts, music, dance, science and web designing. He also spoke about “The Clubhouse”, which is an after-school program that allows the students to participate in homework help, a chess team, a bowling team, golf, art, crafts, soccer, painting, guitar, and a number of other activities. The Clubhouse is designed to help students develop academically, physically, and socially.
Ms. Linda Priore said that the development responsiveness is provided for every child to find what they are good at and to make sure every student has an adult who cares. She also spoke about the Social Equity program which provides extended school services, character education, equity grants, intramural sports, and exceptional education models. She said that another important program is “Baby think it over”, a program to prevent teen-age pregnancy. She said this program allows each student to take a programmed doll with them everywhere they go, allowing them to understand what it would be like to actually have a child.
Ms. Katina Buster said that the Junior Guard program was designed as a partnership between Youth Service and the Kentucky National Guard to help with “at-risk” students. She said that the program teaches self-discipline, marching, drills, marksmanship, military etiquette, first aid, and physical fitness. She also said that even though the program was designed for students with behavioral problems, it has became so popular that there is now a waiting list for all students to join the program. In 1998-1999 the Kentucky School Boards Association, through their Public Education Achieves Award, recognized this innovation design because it enhances student learning and promotes public education.
Ms. Karen Marcum said that some of the other clubs and activities that the students are involved in are future problem solving, leaders of the future, science club, Fellow Christian Athletes, bridge builders club, and Future Business Leaders of America.
Mr. Derek Atkinson said that parents can see how their children are doing with the Information on Demand Program. He said that homework assignments, attendance, discipline, and grades are listed to help parents help the student. He also said that this information is accessible on the Barren County website.
Ms. Katrina Buster said that community involvement is a key factor in helping with the financial aspect to keep the programs running. Barren County Middle school has over 30 active business partners.
Mr. Wallace said that some of the awards and recognitions that Barren County Middle School have received was, two Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year awards, one Kentucky Middle School Counselor of the Year, one Kentucky Middle School Principal of the Year, one National Middle School Principal of the Year, several Volunteer Parent Awards, Public Education Achievers in Kentucky Award, 21st Century Learning Center Federal Grant Welcoming School, and the 1999 Ernie Award.
Representative Moberly asked what promoted the change at Barren County Middle School five years ago. Mr. Wallace said that there was a focus and initiative to get the faculty involved in professional development, and there is also a focus with the academic and core content and on the assessment that is used. He also said that there are scrimmage tests in the fall and spring to help gage the students’ academic level.
Representative Moberly asked if the developmental responsiveness and the social equity programs were helping students with promotion and are the students achieving the goal that has been set. Mr. Wallace said that through the clubhouse program the students are meeting their developmental needs, but some improvements are still being made.
Representative Moberly asked about the retention process and if a student is promoted does it mean that the student has met his or her goals. Ms. Priore said that the research on students that have been retained says it should be done at a early age. Barren County Middle School has several programs to help the students obtain their goals. Ms. Pedigo said that drop-out prevention should begin at the preschool level. Mr. Wallace said that the district is moving toward a P-12 drop-out prevention program. Ms. Priore said that it is the job of teachers to figure different ways each student can learn.
Representative Moberly asked if the teachers were satisfied with the success rate of the students, and what the retention process is for Barren County Middle School. Ms. Proire said that retention is at a very low number and the most successful way to not retain students is for the teachers to teach with variation of learning at a early age.
Representative Moberly asked the panel if they had any ideas as to what the legislators could do to help with intervention strategies. Ms. Priore and Mr. Wallace said that attendance is a real problem when it comes to retention. They said that assessing students in various ways to show that they have learned is important. Ms. Pedigo said that education reform is a hot topic across the nation and it is a validation to be from Kentucky. She also said that after-school funding was needed in other states as well as in Kentucky. The after school Clubhouse program is a valuable part of their school.
Representative Moberly asked about “looping”. Mr. Wallace said that looping is when teachers stay with students for two years then go back to the previous grade after two years.
Senator Casebier asked about weekly professional development sessions, and if it is in the form of a faculty meeting. Mr. Wallace said that each of the teams have a common planning period and each team has a leader who facilitates the team meetings. He said it is focused around student work, curriculum maps, and how integration is working. Senator Casebier also asked if the school was on a seven period day and if band was during the seventh period. Mr. Wallace said that band was either fifth, sixth, or seventh period and after school.
Representative Treesh asked if the lack of basic reading skills is the problem for retained students and dropouts. Ms. Pedigo said that reading is an indicator. The district’s goal is that every child will be reading by the time he or she enters kindergarten and there are also cut-points made in third grade. Representative Treesh also asked about the student agenda book and how it was used. Ms. Priore said the agenda book lists the students assignments.
Representative Marzian said that she was impressed with the outreach programs and the Junior Guard. These are programs that help students that are not motivated and these are the types of outreach programs that are needed throughout Kentucky. She also asked about the behavioral programs and if there had been a reduction in these types of programs for students. Ms. Pedigo said that there had been a reduction, and kids that had been admitted to Junior Guard were not in as much trouble as they had been before.
Senator Kelly said that he was impressed with all the programs that Barren County Middle School was offering. He also said that the key to success is leadership.
Representative Moberly thanked the Barren County Middle School for presenting to the committee. Representative Moberly introduced McLean County Middle School faculty, Linda Edds, Counselor; Jodie Brackett, sixth grade math teacher; and Shannon Lindsey, eighth grade science and math teacher. Ms. Edds said that Kentucky Education Reform Act has really helped education. She also said that McLean County Middle School was the eighth middle school in the state of Kentucky. She also said that the school is set up with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade teams and also has a practical arts team. Each team has common planning time. She said that during that time there are several parent conferences. Ms. Lindsey said that if students are a high novice then they are picked to go to an enrichment class to help boost them up to the next level. Ms. Edds said that the five core content areas are science, math, social studies, English, and literature. The other two class periods are on six week rotations which are physical education, art, and music.
Ms Edds said that the principal at McLean County Middle School is a instructional leader as well as an administrator. She said that the principal empowers the teachers to come up with ideas, but also guides them. She also said that one of the important things is consistency with the “classroom rules.” She said that every student has a consequences sheet, which includes, first, a verbal warning; second, a parent notification; third, a discipline referral to the assistant principal; fourth, a severity clause. Ms. Edds also said there are rewards as well as consequences such as movies, games, and assorted “freebies.” She said there is a positive postcard that is sent out to parents twice a month to let them know how their child is doing.
Senator Kelly asked how the math and science scores were so phenomenal at McLean County Middle School. Ms. Lindsey said that integration of math and science has helped and there are the same expectations in both subjects. She said that testing scrimmages are part of the environment so that the students are not intimidated by the real tests. She said that the expectations are high and a distinguished score is expected. Senator Kelly asked if the same types of students are coming from the elementary school that other middle schools are getting or are they getting better training in the elementary school. Ms. Lindsey said that the elementary teachers are preparing the students with the four column method, and there is carry over with the same materials. Ms. Edds said that it is a build up from the sixth grade. She said that the philosophy is if you work smart you have to “work the work.” Ms. Edds also said there is open response questions in math everyday. Ms. Brackett said that the instructional leader and the staff work together to focus on the content and create ways for the students to learn. Senator Kelly asked if it was because the leadership is demanding quality content teachers. Ms. Edds said that the faculty has strong preparation content. Senator Kelly asked if the practice test-taking technique is creating conceptional knowledge and the students are learning the concepts. Ms. Edds said that through open response questions they are getting knowledge, but they are having to apply it to answer the open response questions.
Representative Moberly said the action that is being taken in the classroom is exactly what the vision was during the reform. Ms. Edds said that it was not something that happened over night, it was a growing process in the classroom. Senator Kelly said that having flexibility at the local level is important to intervention.
Representative Treesh asked about the reading scores, and what the school district is doing with elementary reading. Ms Edds said that the elementary is using the Title I reading program. She said that enrichment programs are also being used. She said that reading is not offered at the high school levels, unless extended school services are used to help them through. Ms. Lindsey said that a reading program was started last year the entire school stops everything at a certain time and reads for fourteen minutes. She said that a teacher or a guest reader would read to some of the students as they follow along. Ms. Edds said that vocabulary is also in all areas and subjects. Senator Kelly said that the enrichment reading strategies at middle school levels have improved the quality among all students.
Ms. Edds said that collaboration in the classes is available for special education students. She said that all the special education students were weak in all subjects and now that they are in a regular classroom, they have developed. Representative Moberly asked where the special education students were before. Ms. Edds said they were in the resource classroom and then go out for science and social studies if possible. Ms. Brackett said that the special education students are now getting more math content by being in a regular math classroom rather that a special education teacher. Representative Moberly asked if the student receives individual attention in the resource room. Ms. Brackett said that because they are having a math content teacher and the fact that the students are getting to interact with regular education students work, it helps with the math knowledge. Ms. Edds said that if the students are having problems, then the resource teacher helps them individually. Representative Moberly asked if the mainstreaming worked with all the special education students. Ms. Edds said it works with all of them and the students are exposed to more information in social studies and science that the special education teacher can provide. She said it improves the students’ self-esteem.
Representative Moberly thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.
With no further business the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.