Theseventh meeting of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee was held on Tuesday, September 4, 2001, at 1:15 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Harry Moberly, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools; Carl Rollins, Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation; Benny Lile, School Curriculum, Assessment, and Accountability Council; Renee G. Little and Eddie McCoy, Pikeville Independent Schools; Michael Carr and Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Pam Polly, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; Judith Gambill, Kentucky Education Association; Sandra Shroat Bush, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System; Bonnie Brinly, Kevin Noland, Cindy Owen, Scott Trimble, and Gene Wilhoit, Kentucky Department of Education; Roland Haun, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Audrey Carr, Ethel Alston, Evelyn Gibson, and Kelley McQuerry.
Representative Marzian moved for approval of the minutes from the August 21, 2001 meeting and Representative Treesh seconded the motion. The motion carried by voice vote.
Representative Moberly said that the study of readiness for higher grades would continue. He said that representatives of Lafayette High School and Pikeville High School, both high achieving schools, would testify before the committee. He then introduced faculty from Lafayette High School, Mr. Michael McKenzie, Principal; Ms. Robin Reed, Social Studies Teacher; Ms. Roxanne Richardson, English Teacher; and Ms. Christina White, Reading Specialist.
Mr. McKenzie said that Lafayette High School was developing a culture in terms of impacting all the students. He said that their challenges are addressed by utilizing interventions that are research-based. He said that there is only one measure of success and that is “Are all kids learning at high levels?” He also said that data sources are used at all staff and department meetings, and also when making decisions and identifying challenges. He said that some of the data sources available are the Kentucky Core Content Tests (CATS), grade distributions by teachers and by course after every grading interval, disaggregated data by race and gender, SRI and Starmath testing results three times a year, and the student achievement gap. The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) results are also used in teacher improvement. Senator Kelly asked how improvement was noticed. Mr. McKenzie said that CTBS takes each school’s lowest scoring students and compares them to a national group. The point of the data is to drive instruction. He said that one major premise is that all kids are expected to learn at high levels and it is the job of teachers to get them there. He also said that literacy is the responsibility of the staff. He said that in the last year, there have been six to seven different literacy models and administrators are expected to take advantage of these models. He also said that parents, staff, and students help find solutions for the challenges.
Ms. Roxanne Richardson said that the extended school service program is provided for students from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and transportation is also provided in the evenings. She said that five programs are available to all students and not just high-risk students. The programs are regular tutoring, special tutoring, a mentoring program, an assisted general program, and an academic club. Representative Moberly asked if the teachers for the morning and afternoon tutoring were paid for their services and if there were enough volunteers. Ms. McKenzie said that the pay was based on teacher experience and that the tutoring program was open to certified and classified employees.
Senator Kelly asked if any student, regardless of grades was able to receive the tutoring program. Ms. Richardson said that a student which may not be an at risk student, but has failed in one class is eligible. Mr. Mackenzie said that all students were allowed to participate in order to improve, as long as the majority of the students in the program qualified under the Extended School Services guidelines.
Ms. Robin Reid said that data was used tremendously at Lafayette, and that it is used in positive ways to target weak areas. She said that in the social studies program the data has been used to improve classroom instruction and some of the strategies used include aligning the curriculum, adding goals to lesson plans, using open-ended questions in daily journals, collecting portfolio pieces, and turning them the into English teachers once a semester, integrating geography throughout all social studies classes, and sharing ideas and lesson plans among the staff.
Ms. Christina White said that Lafayette was the first high school in the district to have a reading specialist and there is also a training program for reading content specialists in the districts’ middle and high schools. She said there is an in-house specialist capable of providing professional development for the faculty and also working with the students. She said that the staff and administrators are concerned with every student’s performance. Teachers are provided with a copy of the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) scores and the teachers take this information for each student and it impacts their classroom instruction. She said that she presents a new reading strategy at each staff meeting for the faculty to learn. She said that there is also a literacy plan in place. Representative Moberly asked Ms. White if she were a full time reading specialist. Ms. White said that on a “A” day schedule she helps with lesson plans and then on “B” days she teaches three classes. Representative Moberly asked if all the high schools in Lexington had a reading specialist and if the decision was made at the district level or school level. Mr. McKenzie said that it was made on a school level and that it was first implemented by the school then followed throughout the district. Representative Moberly asked if all the faculty were expected to participate in the program “Strategies for helping your students read.” Ms. White said that all teachers did participate in the program.
Senator Kelly asked Ms. White about her background and training. Ms. White said that she was in a training program for reading content training specialist. Senator Kelly asked about the relationship with the university based programs. Ms. White said that it is a partnership with the University of Kentucky and it is through the distance learning program where their professors are utilized in reading instruction and research. Senator Kelly also asked about the tutoring program and if any classics were being incorporated in these programs. Ms. White said that one of the strategies is sustained silent reading, which allows the students to read for pleasure. Ms. Reid said that in her class, she lets the students chose their own materials to read.
In response to a question from Representative Treesh, Ms. White said she felt like the students could be helped at the high school level. Representative Treesh asked if the data is looked at on the incoming students and then measured against their achievements. Mr. McKenzie said that the CTBS and other tests are reviewed to determine a student’s reading level.
Representative Rasche asked if there was any type of communication between the high school and middle schools to determine what the students need to succeed. Mr. McKenzie said yes. Representative Moberly asked if the administration felt like everything was being done, or would more resources help advance every student so that they can graduate. Mr. McKenzie said that additional resources could be used and students can always improve. He also said that an exit exam might be something that could be done at the end of each course in high school. Representative Moberly asked if the new teachers seemed prepared. Ms. White said there needs to be more focus on reading in the middle and high schools rather than just at the elementary level. Ms. Richardson said that the student teaching programs have improved and the student teachers usually have majors within their degrees. Ms. Reid said that students are much better writers at the beginning of the school year and the students are much better writers than they were ten years ago. Representative Moberly said that the school was very impressive and thanked Lafayette for coming.
Representative Moberly introduced Mr. Eddie McCoy, Vice Principal, and Ms. Renee Little, School Council Teacher Member, Pikeville High School. Mr. McCoy said that Pikeville High School includes seventh and eighth grade middle school with the high school. He said that the mission statement at Pikeville High School is to provide a meaningful, integrated education in a positive, nurturing environment. He said that the consolidated plan is a result of input from many stakeholders including all faculty, staff, administrators, parents, students, community members, and local college administrators. He said that “the plan” has many activities that are included to meet the needs of all students and teachers. He also said that there are on-going reviews of the implementation and impact of these activities which are conducted each nine weeks to help ensure student progress. He said that regular reports are given to the School Based Council and Board of Education members. He also said that teachers are given three planning days throughout the year. He said that extra curricular after-school activities are important and encouraged.
Ms. Little said that “the consolidated plan” is the driver for the school. She said that most of the teachers attend training on their own time preparing for the next year. They require all students to take all four core courses each year, math, science, social studies and English. She also said that that practical living and vocational education is taught in seventh and eighth grade levels to align the curriculum. Arts and humanities are required of every eighth and eleventh grade student, to make sure all the academic requirements are covered by teachers. She also said that technology is offered in every core and elective class. She said that there are four labs that have 30 computers in each room, and in each classroom there are four computers that are internet accessible. There are five to ten computers in the library and there is also a media specialist and technology coordinator.
Senator Kelly asked about the math scores and why the eighth grade math scores are so high and then at the eleventh grade level math scores are just average. Ms. Little said that there had been a turnover of math teachers that could contribute to the lower scores in the high school. Mr. McCoy said that it was hard to replace teachers that had been there for 30 years.
Representative Moberly asked how Pikeville High School has been able to maintain the consistency in keeping teaching staff. Mr. McCoy said that the school’s success and salary schedules are key factors in keeping staff.
Senator Kelly said that students that are making great scores in high school will not necessarily rank or make high scores in the postsecondary institutions since they are competing nationwide. Ms. Little said that eighty-percent of their students attend postsecondary institutions. Representative Moberly asked if there were any statistics of students that had to be remediated at the college level. Ms. Little said that data was not available. Representative Moberly said eighty-seven percent was impressive to go on to postsecondary education.
Representative Treesh said that remediation is a national problem and not just a local problem. He also asked if the curriculum change with vocational practical living affected any of these particular areas. Ms. Little said it enhanced the scores with the change. Mr. McCoy said that the consolidated plan was adjusted to fit the curriculum. Representative Treesh asked if early retention is better versus what can be done at the high school level. Mr. McCoy said that you have to be careful with retention at any level, because sometimes you find yourself back in the same situation with that student the next year. Mr. McCoy said that he thought students were more prepared today than they were ten years ago.
Representative Moberly thanked Pikeville High school for coming and then introduced Commissioner Gene Wilhoit to report on the status of the testing booklets that were destroyed during the grading process.
Commissioner Wilhoit said that thirty booklets were destroyed in the grading process and out of the thirty, two middle schools were affected in two districts. He said that the booklets were set aside in order to look at the tests scores and were later destroyed inadvertently. He said that at a state level both schools have large student populations, but the students can be removed from the cohort and it will not affect the overall accountability index. Agreements have been worked out with the district to be flexible in terms of scoring.
Senator Kelly asked about the status of Senate Bill 186. Commissioner Wilhoit said that twenty-five percent of schools are being reached. The University of Kentucky Center will have information on the effectiveness of programs this fall. He said there is more attention on reading in schools now than there was two years ago and that results are being made in student performance. He said that at the elementary level there was a major jump in reading scores.
Senator Kelly asked to what extent we are getting high quality programs across the state and are we prepared for what is happening at the federal level with the administration’s new literacy incentives. Commissioner Wilhoit said that literacy is a priority on a local level. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the major funding draw in federal assistance would be in special education assistance. Senator Kelly asked if this money was Title I funds. Commissioner Wilhoit said that Title I funds may or may not receive new federal money. He said the testing issue will be competing for resources as well as the early reading programs.
Representative Moberly asked if there would be additional federal funds for testing. Commissioner Wilhoit said that was the initial proposal with the new requirements that will be made for annual assessments. He said that Kentucky was in a good position since we have a statewide testing program in place. Representative Moberly asked when the committee would know what the federal requirements would be. Commissioner Wilhoit said it should occur before October 1, 2001. Representative Moberly asked about the reading and literacy programs and the amount of additional resources that would be needed.
Senator Kelly said that everyone is excited to get the data, and asking if modeling the best programs and disseminating information was the best strategy or should we look into hiring teacher specialists in all the schools to make sure that the information is implemented. Representative Moberly asked when the committee would receive the report from the collaborative. Commissioner Wilhoit said it would be in October or November.
Representative Treesh said that he would be interested in oral or written information about the reconfigured scores and how many schools had their test scores turned upside down, and the areas where it happened. Commissioner Wilhoit said there would be some information that could be relayed and some patterns that also could be referred. Commissioner Wilhoit said that reassessing and moving the students forward is the type of program that needs to be in place in the schools.
Representative Moberly thanked Commissioner Wilhoit for coming.
With no further business the meeting was adjourned.