2014 Oldham County Schools Test Results

Extraordinary Growth in Centerfield’s Test Scores

Original Article by Kirsten Clark, kclark2@courier-journal.com 7:14 a.m. EDT October 3, 2014

A year after the state designated Centerfield Elementary a school in need of improvement based on standardized test scores for the 2012-13 academic year, the Crestwood school pulled itself to a “proficient” classification — jumping from the 38th percentile to the 71st percentile among Kentucky elementary schools.

“It’s not just our biggest gain,” said Leslie Robertson, district assessment coordinator for Oldham County Schools. “It’s a pretty extraordinary gain. You don’t see those very often.”

Centerfield principal Julie Scott said the school focused on building the relationship between the school and students’ families over the past year.

RELATED: 2014 Kentucky School Test Results

“By creating these relationships we are able to truly ascertain each child’s individual needs and then we can work as a team to determine how to meet those needs,” she said in an email Thursday. “In a nutshell, we stay focused on our students.”

The biggest gains at Centerfield came from individual students making progress in reading and math, with the school’s overall score increasing from 62.2 to 69.9 within one year.

Robertson attributed the gains to the improvement of scores among “gap” students — those who are African-American, Hispanic, Native American, special education, low income or limited English proficiency students.

District spokeswoman Tracy Harris said the state compares results of these subpopulations to the overall population at the school as a way to ensure all students are receiving the instruction they need.

Robertson said increasing gap scores is how districts close the “achievement gap.” Usually, districts will see gap scores increase “here or there,” but Oldham saw this occur across the district, she said, which equated to higher scores for the district overall.

The state identified two schools — La Grange Elementary and Oldham County High School — as “focus” schools based on the performance of Hispanic and disabled students, respectively, in reading.

In just three years, the percentage of college and career ready students at Iroquois High School went from 9 percent to 52 percent. Jessica Ebelhar, The Courier-Journal

The label of “focus,” Robertson said, “basically means, ‘You need to make a plan to address this within your school.'”

“So all this basically tells us is where we need to target our situation,” Robertson said. “We may have seen great reading growth, but if we’re not seeing great reading growth with that population of kids, we really need to target and figure out what’s going on there.”

La Grange Elementary was also the only school in the district to receive a “needs improvement” classification overall, with students performing within the 52 percentile compared to other Kentucky elementary schools.

Harris said the district has recently enacted a districtwide focus on literacy with programs like summer reading program Camp Literacy Live, reading recovery programs and professional development for teachers. Gains made by those programs may not yet be fully reflected in the test scores, she said.

Gavin H. Cochran Elementary School has shown sharp improvements in test scores by working to make the most of time with students, even starting before the day starts. Principal Tim Foster explains how it’s making an impact. Alton Strupp, The C-J

As a district, Oldham County Schools maintained its status as one of the state’s highest performing schools, scoring higher than 98 percent of the districts in Kentucky.

Robertson attributed the high performance to the district’s teachers, who she said are getting used to the state’s Common Core Standards in reading and math, which were adopted in 2010. Students were tested on them for the first time in spring 2012.

“As those have been rolled out, it takes time for students to transition into those new standards as well as teachers to have that confidence and to build their effectiveness in teaching those new standards,” she said.

Robertson said the district will continue to provide assistance to La Grange Elementary and focus on populations of students needing additional support.

“We are fortunate that we are a high-performing district and have been, and that is the standard for Oldham County,” she said. “The challenge for us is always trying to make sure that we’re continuing to challenge our students and our staff to be the best and continue to get better.”

Reporter Kirsten Clark can be reached at (502) 582-4144 or on Twitter by following @kirstenlmclark.

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