TOP DAWGS - “I appreciate the ownership that teachers and staff took in raising the bar for students; I have always felt that our students could compete with any other district around here. It just took the staff holding them accountable for their academics,” said Tamara Smith, Superintendent of Fulton Independent Schools upon the public announcement of the district’s recent scores on the Kentucky Department of Education’s Kentucky School Report Card, resulting from the Spring 2015 KPREP testing conducted for students in the district.
Principal R.B. Mays wasted no time in making Fulton High School students, faculty and staff aware of the accomplishment the school achieved, covering the campus grounds with “Bulldog blue” and white signs noting their designation as a School of Distinction/High Progress School, classified as Distinguished/Progressing and finding a spot in the 97th percentile resulting as well as a spot in the top 3% of high schools in the state for their academic achievements for the 2014-2015 school year.
The previous year, FHS was in the 73rd percentile.
There are three levels of scores, beginning with the top designation of Distinguished, scoring in the 90-99th percentile; Proficient, scoring in the 70-89 percentile and Needs Improvement, scoring in the below 70 percentile.
Overall, the district was in the 72 percentile, equating to the top 30% statewide, with Carr Elementary at the 52 percentile in the top 50% statewide, and the Middle School, grades 6 through 8, in the 29th percentile.
Based on each district’s and school’s previous year overall score, the state sets an AMO target, such as in 2014, the district overall scored 66.3, with the AMO target established for 2015 at 67.3. The district came in with a score of 66.5. For Carr, the overall score for 2014 was 63.9, the target was 64.9, and the 2015 overall score was 63.1. FMS’ score overall from 2014 was 63.1, target score was 64.1, and 2015 score was 56.4.
Fulton High School recorded a significant overall score increase, with the 2014 score at 71.4, the AMO target at 71.9, and the 2015 overall score reaching 80.1.
With the high school’s designation, that means FHS scored from the 95th to the 99th percentile, met current year AMO, student participation rate, graduation rate goal and the graduation rate was above 60 for the prior two years. The 2015 graduation rate was 96.7%.
DeAnna Miller, FIS’ DPP/Instructional Supervisor, said that throughout the 21 years with FIS, covering a range of testing systems, there had been years when scores excelled, however this year’s results were the best. Miller echoed the superintendent’s comments, stating it was the full ownership taken on by the students and teachers, which was the key factor in the awards.
“There are teachers and administrators who are no longer here, with the FIS district, who are equally responsible for this achievement,” Miller said.
Miller said there is always room for improvement, with this year’s FMS scores “taking a dip,” adding the students in grades six through eight, the middle school grades are “heavily tested.”
“I would like to see students take advantage of our after school tutoring, which is free of charge for grades three through 12, year round. We have certified teachers who are there twice a week, and can help with any subject as needed,” Miller said.
According to Smith, it’s a team effort.
“Each and every person in this district plays a part in student accountability. It may be the custodian, cook, aide, secretary, administrator, teacher, or central office staff who made the difference in a child’s decision to be the best and I am grateful for each and every one of our employees. The countless hours after school at activities, or simply preparing for the next day is evident in our overall progress,” the superintendent said.
“We have started an upward trend that I am expecting to continue,” Smith added. “There are some areas that we need to work on to improve. We still have much work to do to stay and even go beyond this level of overall achievement.”
Miller also gave credit to the community, the mentors, volunteers, students, faculty and staff.
“It takes much more than just one role. We need everyone on board. And we appreciate all the support we have received,” she said.
For the district overall, a Proficient classification was achieved, with the 2014-2015 overall score at 66.5, up from the 2013-2014 score of 66.1. The district percentile for 2014-2015 was 72, compared to a 68 the previous year.
For Carr, the overall score was 63.1 for 2014-2015, in the 52 percentile, and for 2013-2014, Carr scored 63.9 in the 55 percentile. Their classification was Needs Improvement.
At FMS, the score for 2014-2015 was overall 56.4, 29 percentile, with 2013-2014 scores for FMS at 63.1, 57 percentile. Their classification was Needs Improvement.
For the high school, a score of 80.1 was recorded for 2014-2015, compared to the overall scored of 71.4 in 2013-2014. FHS scored in the 97 percentile, up from the previous year’s percentile of 73, and achieved the status of Distinguished/Progressing, School of Distinction and High Progress School.
This article was published in a recent edition of The Fulton Leader and was written by Benita Fuzzell.