|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last week the Lewis County Board of Education took care of some annual routine
matters and heard a report on data analysis from the CATS scores from two principals.
The board began by re-electing Joe LeMaster as Board Chairman, Jack Sapp as the
Vice-Chairman, Maurice Reeder Jr. as the Board Secretary and Joe Kennedy as the Board
The board re-established the date, time and place for the regular board meetings. It
remains on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the superintendent's office.
The board approved the semi-annual report on the Comprehensive Improvement Plan. The
plan covers such topics as reducing barriers to learning and enhancing student achievement
and shows what programs have been implemented or partially implemented according to plan.
Reeder pointed out that the CIP is a long-range plan and that some programs are only
partially implemented does not mean the schools are behind. That's just where they are in
following the plan.
The board approved the 2004-05 school year calendar. Four early release days are part
of the new schedule. They are set for October 15, October 22, February 4 and April 15.
These times will be used by the staff to look at test scores and to prepare the students
for testing and the faculty for adhering to all the rules and regulations when
administering the tests. Reeder likened the process to a doctor looking at tests conducted
on a patient to determine problems and find a cure.
Jerry Bloomfield, principal at Laurel Elementary reported to the board on his
school's work with the data analysis of the CATS scores. He said that Laurel used the
Collaborative Inquiry Method to analyze the data.
Bloomfield said that his staff started on last November 21 by traveling to Lewis County
Central and working as a team with the teachers at Central helping out. On December 11
Belinda Forman came to Laurel, and they spent the day with the data. He said that during
Christmas break his teachers came in on January 2 to continue analyzing the data. Mrs.
Forman returned on January 8 and worked until about 1:00 p.m. when they were interrupted
by bad weather.
Bloomfield told the board that his staff was scheduled to finish the analysis by
Friday, January 16. At that point the teachers would be ready to complete problem
statements for needed content areas. They will determine and examine root causes for the
problems and use research-based strategies to ensure continued success at Laurel.
He explained that the data has quickly revealed a problem with fifth grade math and
with probability and statistics at grade two and above.
According to Bloomfield, some strategies are already implemented. The school has
obtained a waiver from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to provide Extended
School Services (ESS) during the school day rather than after school hours. Some of the
pupils that needed the extra help could not stay after school. ESS is now conducted during
the day in their library time.
In addition to that, the researched-based reading program SOAR is being used with the
fourth-fifth grade groups. These students work in small groups to improve their reading
Bloomfield reported that Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. different
teachers have specific assignments with their respective grades. Lisa Zornes works with
fourth grade students on the process of completing open-response and on-demand writing
tasks. The children not only need to know subject content but also the process that will
help them score at a higher level.
During that same hour Brenda Box works with fifth grade students on grade specific
content and assessments to prepare them for the KCCT Assessment in the Spring.
Bloomfield along with Tawnya Owens works with the sixth grade pupils on test
He said that the primary classes remain in Skills Groups until 2:30 p.m. The teachers
provide specific strategies for them for CTBS Assessment.
In concluding, Bloomfield said that the students at Laurel Elementary are making slow
but good progress and that instruction overall at the school is on its timeline.
Mildred Richardson, principal at Garrison Elementary followed Bloomfield with
her report on data analysis.
|She said that her staff is also using the
Collaborative Inquiry Method and was also at Central Elementary on November 21.
that her staff, too, had identified some problem areas and is looking at factors and root
causes in curriculum, instruction, assessment, equity, critical supports, student problems
and other contributing factors.
Richardson said that in the research of the data already done a gender gap in math,
reading and science was found right off. The females are outscoring the males.
She explained that on January 2 Garrison had six hours of professional development with
Tom Horn of the Kentucky Valley Educational Co-op on how boys and girls learn differently
according to brain research and the importance of using strategies that compliment the
student's learning style. The teachers learned some research-based teaching strategies and
have already implemented them since returning to class after the Christmas break.
Richardson informed the board that the ARSI Science Program Improvement Review was
scheduled for Tuesday, January 13. The purpose for that review is to collect as much data
as possible on Garrison's science instruction program and then receive recommendations for
Some of the new strategies now being used include 30 minutes of sustained silent
reading time each day, and that involves the Accelerated Reading Program. The Soar to
Success and Soar to Reading programs are used with the students not only in ESS but also
in the sustained reading time.
In Kindergarten she said the weakness was math. To improve that the school is having
math centers three times each week. They are doing measuring, weighing, graphing,
estimating and comparing numbers and then they are doing calendar math daily.
The reading scores in first grade were fantastic but math was the weak area there, too.
In that class they are spending more time on money, pattern concepts and calendar math
daily. Since two teachers were trained in the Pearl Training Strategies last summer they
are using them to improve behavior and to build self-esteem to improve time on task and
In second grade the weakness was reading so they are using daily analogies and daily
oral language strategies to teach the students how to follow directions and to stay
focused. Two parent volunteers also read one-on-one with each pupil to improve fluency.
The volunteers work all day with the second grade.
That grade is also working on phonemic skills and vocabulary comprehension daily.
The third grade has weaknesses in both math and reading.
To improve in math the students do group work, daily calendar activities and skill pad
activities. They are getting more daily math and more hands-on activities with
To improve their reading skills they are using the Weekly Readers and are spending time
with extra phonics, reading skills, Words of the Day and daily language analogies.
The third grade now has four teachers and each focuses on one content area. All
students receive the same instruction, strategies and assessments.
Fourth grade students are receiving more small group assistance and one-on-one help in
areas of individual needs. They are also getting more science experiments, more
open-response assessments that place more emphasis on higher-order thinking skills, more
time for reflective learning and more problem solving activities in math.
Grade five students are using two new research-based programs called "Math
Investigations" and "History Alive." These programs are integrated with the
existing resources being used in math and social studies. All students receive the same
curriculum, instruction and assessments.
The sixth grade is receiving emphases on reading and math. Here they are taught Core
Content, Program of Studies using research-based strategies and assessing students at a
Richardson said that in the Arts and Humanities Garrison is using Word Wall to teach
vocabulary and more hands-on activities to expose younger children to other cultures. They
are also using the Arts Toolkit from KET. Family Resource is assisting with the Dance Core
Content 30 minutes per week with the fifth grade.