To the editor:
This letter is in response to the inflammatory opinions expressed by Mr. Bill Doan as printed in the Nov. 20th edition of the Democrat. Mr. Doan made several statements concerning the Harrison County School District that are not only counter-productive but also demean our students, faculty, and staff.
In his letter, Mr. Doan alluded to unrealistic goals and so called “promised land” results of our school district being a top performer. Yes, the students of Harrison County can achieve “top 10 percent” status, and yes it is possible to do so in three years. Your school district has set the goals, made the plans, and implemented those plans. For instance the district has both grade level and proficiency instructional teams that focus on student performance. The district has implemented the Kaplan ACT Test preparation program. This program allows all of our teachers to assess students against national standards as well as provide them with valuable test taking strategies.
We have a district leadership team, composed of teachers who were identified as leaders by their principals and School Based Decision Making Councils (SBDMC), who meet with each other and with our central office administration. These meetings focus on what we need to accomplish in order to ensure student success. Our teachers are collaborating not only with peers at their schools but also peers from other schools in our district. These processes are being coordinated by our superintendent, assistant superintendent, supervisors of instruction, district assessment coordinator, and by our teachers.
Mr. Doan also made reference to the ACT scores of Harrison County High School students in his letter. What Mr. Doan did not say in his letter is that all HCHS juniors take the ACT. This includes our students who do not presently plan on continuing their education after high school.
As a district, Harrison County is one of the school systems that led this emphasis on ACT testing – long before it became a state mandate.
Getting our high school juniors ready for the ACT is a job the faculty and staff at HCHS take very seriously. Last year alone, each student took up to five practice ACT exams. These practice exams allow the students, and faculty to know which areas the student is having difficulty, and where extra instruction is needed. Individual attention is then given to that student to help facilitate the student’s success.
One other statement in the letter was “At the outset, we should know where we are now as we have not previously been told.” This district publishes the test scores in the local paper, reviews them with the Board of Education in regular public meeting, as well as sends each child’s score home when results arrive and are available to the public. The test scores can also be viewed on the Ky. Dept. of Education Website.
My closing statement to the readers is this; Harrison County has a good school system. We can and we will continue to improve, constant improvement is not just a phrase, it is our mission. As with all systems, we have our problems, but these problems are being addressed. We are interested in solutions not “finger pointing.” We need and encourage input from our community, we need and encourage participation in our schools, and we need your support.
Edwin D. Taylor,