After Kentucky legislation called for reorganization in public schools, the Adair County School District has spent the past semester implementing major changes in its curriculum.
Teachers and administrators have been working nearly two years in preparation for the changes brought forth by SB 1—a complete overhaul of Kentucky’s K-12 curriculum.
Legislators aimed for SB 1 to have tougher curriculum at younger levels, more accountability for both students and teachers, an emphasis on college and career readiness and many other requirements.
Instructional Supervisor Phyllis Curry and teachers throughout the school district began in 2009 revising standards and assessments based on national benchmarks for K-12 education.
Now, halfway through its first year of SB 1, everything seems to be on track according to Curry.
Curry said since August they have completed the following:
• Implemented new standards in reading/ English/ language arts and math at all grade levels.
• Revisited subjects and realigned curriculum.
• Implemented common assessments at grade levels. Example: Every student in the first grade takes the same exams in each subject level.
• ACHS students take end of course exams in Algebra II, biology, English II, and U.S. History.
• Teachers develop program review for writing plans and collect evidence to determine progress across the board at all grade levels.
• The state is performing a random audit of 106 schools throughout the state regarding the writing programs in February. Col. Wm. Casey is one of the schools selected.
• Implemented a more rigorous curriculum.
• No more general math classes at the middle school. 7th grade now takes Pre-Algebra and 8th grade takes Algebra I.
• Teachers have more professional development hours to work on curriculum alignment and writing assessments.
• Transitional math classes implemented at the high school to help students achieve higher ACT scores.
• Students can take the COMPASS test in English and math if they do not meet their ACT benchmarks.
• Students can receive certification in different vocational subjects and take various dual credit and AP classes.
• RTI is narrowly targeted on individual students rather than a group.
• Students can take a program focused on reading to help them improve their reading fluency. It helps students learn how to read and comprehend faster. Assessments such as the ACT exam has time limits on reading exams.
• Students can be involved in virtual programs focused on enrichment and remediation.
COLLEGE AND CAREER READY
A lot of focus is being put on college and career readiness. Students have different opportunities to prepare for life after graduation including the dual credit and AP classes, ACT preparation and other assessments such as the COMPASS exam and RTI programs.
Curry said the Adair County School District began RTI programs long before SB 1. However, the RTI programs are now centered more on each student rather than as a whole.
“You don’t look at them as a group anymore,” Curry said. “You look at them as individual students.”
SB 1 aims to increase the percentage of students that go to college after graduating. Currently, 64 percent of the Adair County students that graduate pursue a four-year degree. The state average is 62 percent.
“The community is trusting that we will direct more of our efforts towards getting students ready for the kinds of jobs that are available now and into the future,” said Superintendent Darrell Treece. “It’s not just college readiness we’re talking about, its career readiness.”
The drive for postsecondary education has often been labeled P-16 education or Grade 13.
This means “being productive functioning members of society,” Curry said.
“Grade 13 can mean a lot things,” Treece said. “All of us have to keep in mind that the workplace has changed forever. Some of the greatest job opportunities out there demand skills in technology. We have to prepare students for all those opportunities.”
By Allison Hollon