“We have a new accountability system this year with two over-riding objectives we need to be aware of,” Ringstaff said. “Our principals and teachers are already aware the state department wants us to ensure growth for all students, every year and close achievement gaps.”
According to Ringstaff, the state department believes achievement gaps will be closed by ensuring faster growth for those students who are most behind. District goals dictated by the state maintain local educational associations are accountable for these annual measurable objectives and for intervening for any schools missing the objectives.
Schools have a total of 11 areas in which they can achieve: Grades 3-8 Reading, 3-8 Math, 3 Reading, 3 Math, 7 Reading, 7 Math, 9-12 Algebra I, 9-12 Algebra II, 9-12 English II, 9-12 English III, and 9-12 Graduation Rate. Schools must achieve 50 percent plus one, which equals six out of the 11 areas.
Gap closures are expected by the state for the following subject/grade levels: 3-8 Reading, 3-8 Math, Algebra I and Algebra II, and English II and English III.
“The groups 9-12 Algebra II and 9-12 English III are new this year,” Ringstaff said. “They are so new that the state has not even given us what we need to pass them yet. Which is interesting when you are trying to shoot for a target and you don’t even know what the target is.”
Gap targets for schools across Tennessee include: Black/Hispanic/Native American vs. all students; economically disadvantaged vs. non-ED; limited English proficient vs. non-LEP; and students with disabilities vs. non-SWD.
“We did get caught with the economically disadvantaged students this year pretty much across the board,” Ringstaff said. “We are targeting that area and we have got to get better. Administrators and teachers are working very hard.”
Ringstaff said city schools did pass their students with disabilities gap when 72 percent of the schools in Tennessee did not.
“Gap closures are more of a challenge than the achievement gaps,” Ringstaff said. “For every kid in that right-hand column [non-Ed, non-LEP, etc] you have to pass two more kids in the left-hand column [economically disadvantaged, etc.].”
Peggy Pesterfield, board member, asked if it was more difficult to reach the required goals with a growing population.
Ringstaff said he believed the transit student body made it more difficult to reach certain scores. New students have not been trained and educated with the same focus used in the city schools to ensure goals are being met.
- Retired teachers were also honored at the school board meeting. These teachers included: Ann Culbreth and Larry Payne, Administrative Office; Candy Brown, Arnold Elementary; Sylvia King, Audrey Waggoner and Victoria Cline, Blythe-Bower Elementary; Bill Stockham, CHS/Teen Learning Center; Janis Brannen and Sherry Govan, Cleveland Middle School; Gail Vandergriff, Mayfield Elementary; Jack Geyer and Lori Ingraham, E. L. Ross Elementary; Teresa Crump, Special Education; Patricia Kibble, Stuart Elementary; and Judy Gault, Yates Primary.
- Mike Collier, CMS principal, requested permission to build an aluminum awning at the middle school. The awning will be located near the entrance closest to the softball field. The awning will be near the crosswalk where several handicap spots were once used.
- The Parents Teachers Organization of CMS has already approved the funding of the awning. Collier said the awning would help protect the students from inclement weather like a heavy downpour experienced Monday afternoon.
- The school board has decided to place a plaque in honor of Betsy Vines outside the reconstructed theater named in honor of the teacher. Board members will look into additional plaques already placed throughout the school to ensure consistency.
Architect Brian Templeton said the Betsy Vines Theater should be completed on time.
“We had a progress meeting this afternoon with the contractor and we are pleased with the work they have completed over the past several weeks,” Templeton said. “All of the lighting, seats and flooring are in. The sound system is currently being tested and worked on.”
The theater should be ready for its showing later this month.