In the past, one of the subgroups was quite far behind the other students and two more seemed to need extra help in math, Benson added, choosing not to identify the groups.
The groups with the worst issues scored 58 percent in 2004, but their score is now 83 percent. The other two groups scored 76 and 81 percent on 2004 but now they score 91 and 92 percent, he noted.
The schools scores over all went from an 88 in reading and an 87 in math to 93.7 percent in reading and 95.9 percent in math this year.
LSSD officials are also very pleased to report that every school in the district is in Good Standing according to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) guidelines of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as reported by the Tennessee State Department of Education (TSDE).
Benchmarks increased for the second time this year, making it more difficult for schools to attain AYP across the board. The percentage of students who must test proficient in Math and Reading/Language increased on average 5 to 6 percentage points, to 89 percent for reading and 86 percent for math.
“We are proud of our students, teachers and principals who work very hard every day to make learning happen,” said Dr. Sharon Roberts, LSSD director.
For the district, the AYP report combines all school totals to determine district success as well.
The district averages were 94.3 percent for reading and 95.6 for math, and all schools made or exceeded the benchmark scores. The district will be categorized as targets for two groups whose writing scores need to improve.
From the district report, the Limited English Proficient (LEP) subgroup and Students With Disabilities (SWD) subgroup were short of the 89 percent proficiency needed to reach the 2008 benchmark in reading/language.
District leaders and administrators have reviewed the data and determined the need to focus on improvement in writing.
LSSD provided additional training during June and July for all teachers in strategies to teach writing. “A focus on writing is part of the school and district improvement plans for the new school year,” said Jeanne Ray, associate director of Learning.
According to Stan Blades, the Federal Programs coordinator for LSSD, “While the Limited English Proficient (LEP) subgroup of students did not meet the federally mandated benchmark under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), approximately 75 percent of LEP students made proficiency. Some of these students have only been in an American school for two years; this is a phenomenal feat. It normally takes two years for students to develop social language and another 5-7 years to develop academic language.”
For students with disabilities, the district-wide subgroup scored 81.3 percent proficient just short of the 89 percent required by NCLB for this year.
“Our special education teachers are working collaboratively with general education teachers to improve the reading and writing proficiency of students with disabilities. Additional technology will be used to enhance student skills,” said Lynn Cable, director of Special Education for LSSD.
Wilson County Elementary Supervisor Felicia Duncan said the school administration is delighted with the Wilson County Schools scores.
“We are very pleased, but we want to keep doing better and better,” Duncan said.“All of our schools made AYP except one high school,” she said. “And it was only 1.3 percent low on graduation rates.”
The school, Lebanon High, and the other three high schools as well, will be working on a variety of drop-out prevention programs, Duncan said.
“We are looking at all kinds of programs to help encourage the students to stay in school,” Duncan said.
She also pointed out that Wilson County considers itself a pre-K thru 16 system. “Whether our students attend college or a technical program we want to be sure they can succeed,” she added.