To the editor:
As parents of students in the Harrison County Middle School and representatives on the Site-Based Decision Making Council (SBDMC) at HCMS, we would like to express our appreciation for the very hard work and improvement in the academic environment that teachers and staff at HCMS have obviously attained over the past several years.
In reference to your article on 9/29/11 titled “Test scores show improvement, but fall short of federal NCLB goal,” we believe the vast improvements in test scores were not fairly represented to our community. Rather than focusing on the fact that Harrison County was not in the mere 11 percent of Kentucky school districts that met the NCLB mandate, which may or may not be a “fair, valid, or reliable” index by which to judge a school, we would like to share some of the important strides that the students and teachers of HCMS have made over the past year.
First, as an overview, HCMS ranked fourth in the region in overall test scores, an improvement from ninth place the year before.
When compared to other middle school districts in the state, Harrison County ranked 45th out of 175 middle school districts. That places our middle school in the top 25 percent of the state and reflects an improvement from its former ranking at 98th.
We believe this tremendous stride should be celebrated by our community. When analyzing our progress, we should note the following point improvements by subject: Reading 1.9, math 5.1, science 18.45, social studies 11.99, and writing 5.82 which gives an overall improvement of 8.5 points from the prior year’s scores.
We will let these numbers speak for themselves, as anyone familiar with testing knows that even a 1-2 point improvement takes a lot of hard work and determination.
The students and teachers at HCMS have much to celebrate based on these achievements, and we feel that the bigger message from the CATS testing is that we are making great strides toward our educational goals, and not that we failed to achieve an unreliable standard.
Rather than merely reporting the fact that our district and middle school failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) with last year’s testing, isn’t it important and a more fair representation of the issue to report the gains or losses made by each school?
We believe these facts need to be shared in the community so all will know and appreciate the very hard work and progress being made in our middle school. The students and staff at HCMS certainly deserve a big pat on the back and acknowledgement of their progress. Imagine the type of praise we would expect in our workplace if we were able to improve our job performance by 8.5 points in one year.
Amy B Mashburn
Jada Walker Griggs