The Adair County School District is classified as Proficient/Progressing/High Progress for the first time ever according to test scores released to the public today. Additionally, each school earned the Proficient/Progressing label, the first time all the schools reached the mark in the same year.
“I want to thank and congratulate our students, teachers, faculty, staff, administrators, Academic Dean Phyllis Curry, and the board members for teaming up to help Adair County students perform at the highest level ever on state tests,” Supt. Alan Reed says. “We’re all celebrating and rejoicing for this achievement—it was one of the biggest improvements in the state.”
Under the state’s Unbridled Learning accountability model, Adair County High School—boasting a 99.4-percent graduation rate, up from 76-percent in 2012—achieved the Proficient/Progressing classification for the second year in a row with a score of 71.5. Adair County Middle School posted a score of 67.9, up more than eight points from 2014-15. Adair County Primary Center and Adair County Elementary School, which share accountability, gained more than 12 points compared to the previous year for a score of 69. The district’s score of 69.5 is only one point shy of a Distinguished classification. Last year, the district was classified as “Needs Improvement.”
“I give credit to the students, teachers, and building leadership,” Curry says. “They’ve taken ownership and their hard work is paying off. Each of our schools is trending in the right direction.”
Several factors helped the district make such drastic improvement. The school board’s investment in new technology allows teachers new methods to utilize and gives students more customized, hands-on learning opportunities; a completely new instruction method for math paid immediate dividends; and early release Fridays improved teacher cooperation across departments.
“We realized that we had a problem with math and last year we made across-the-board changes in how we instruct students in the subject,” Curry explains. “It’s not the traditional way of doing things but the scores show they have been positive changes. With early release Fridays, it changed the schools’ culture, and from that we saw more of a wholesale buy-in as far as the academic focus—we saw different departments working together.”
Despite the great gains, no one is resting on their laurels as the new school year quickly approaches the midway point of the first semester. Curry hopes to see even better scores next year, particularly in math and within subgroups (gender, ethnicity, special needs, etc.). “We’re happy with this year’s scores but there’s certainly work to do,” Curry says.
Reed attributes this year’s success as the culmination of several years’ efforts, and—like Curry—hopes for even more improvement moving forward. “For years we have been digging ourselves out of a hole but thanks to a progressive board investing in technology to help turn the tide and progressive leaders and teachers putting students first, we’re celebrating the fruits of those labors today,” Reed says. “It’s a great feeling.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools