Student performance in the Harlan County School District has advanced to the status of “proficient” on the state’s accountability measures.
Members of the board of education reviewed school performance data during a recent special meeting.
“This is the highest level of performance we’ve achieved in my years here and we are all very proud of the hard work of our teachers and the accomplishments our students have made,” Assistant Superintendent Brent Roark told the board.
While the local school system has steadily improved since the implementation of Kentucky’s “Unbridled Learning” method of accountability in 2011-12, this is the first year the district has been above the “Needs Improvement” level.
Some of the elementary schools in the county have earned the highest level of “distinguished,” which is determined by their performance on a combination of student achievement in content areas of reading, math, science, social studies and writing; growth in reading and math; and improvement in a measure referred to as the “gap.”
Kentucky’s goal is 100 percent proficiency for all students. The distance from that goal or gap is measured by creating a student Gap Group — an aggregate count of student groups that have historically had achievement gaps. Student groups combined include ethnicity/race (African American, Hispanic, Native American), Special Education, Poverty (free/reduced-price meals) and Limited English Proficiency that score at proficient or higher.
High school scores are calculated on the basis of these measures as well as college readiness as measured by their performance on EXPLORE testing in the middle schools; student performance in college/career-readiness rate as measured by ACT benchmarks from testing done during their junior year, college placement tests and career measures; as well as the district’s graduation rate.
Harlan County High School is currently ranked at the 77th percentile statewide and qualifies as a “proficient” school under this accountability system. The district score is then an aggregation of all its schools.
The Kentucky Department of Education has released performance data on all school districts and each school report card will soon reflect the new results.
The board addressed an emergency situation at the high school when it gave approval to a quote from Praters Athletic Flooring of Nashville, Tenn., for a $27,700 repair to the high school gym, which was reportedly damaged over the summer when another vendor attempted to resurface the floor.
The board is currently seeking legal remedies for the situation, but the floor’s coating is peeling off and with basketball season set to begin very soon the board declared an emergency to address the immediate problem.
A working budget for 2015-16 was approved in the amount of $25.4 million in revenue of which $18.9 million is received from state sources and $5 million comes from all local taxes. A total of $3.4 million of the $5 million is made up of local property taxes.
The district will spend nearly $21 million in instructional costs, $1.2 million in instructional support costs, $3.4 million in plant operations/facility costs, $2.8 million in student transportation/bus
costs, $3 million in other costs, and reserve $1.1 million in a contingency fund as required by state regulation.
In other action, the board:
* Approved a $6,200 subscription agreement for a system that will allow the district to track all its hourly employees to ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)and IRS mandate that employers offer health insurance;
* Approved a trip by the Wallins second- and third-grades to Oakes Farm in Corryton, Tenn., on Oct. 29;
* Approved a trip by Rosspoint’s second- and third-grades to the Knoxville Zoo on Oct. 16;
* Approved Rosspoint’s eighth-grade trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., at the end of the current school year;
* Announced the next meeting would be held Oct. 22 at the Central Office.