Council hears city school goals

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Posted 1/31/18

Leaders with Cleveland City Schools shared the school district’s latest set of goals with members of their Parent Advisory Council on Tuesday. Kelly Kiser, supervisor of federal projects and …

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Council hears city school goals

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Leaders with Cleveland City Schools shared the school district’s latest set of goals with members of their Parent Advisory Council on Tuesday. 

Kelly Kiser, supervisor of federal projects and staff development, gave parents their first look at the district’s Local Educational Agency, or LEA, plan for the 2018-19 year. 

“One of the things we have to do every year is develop a plan for our district moving forward,” Kiser said. “From there, the individual schools will develop their own school improvement plans.” 

The plan for 2018-19 lists goals in five different areas: “Literacy,” “Math,” “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), “Safe and Healthy Students” and “College and Career Readiness.” 

Among the goals for Literacy is to maintain at least a score of 3 on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) Literacy score. This score measures student growth in literacy on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. 

According to the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2016-17 Report Card, the school district as a whole has a Literacy score of 3 now. 

The LEA plan’s strategies for Literacy include: improving Tier 1 reading instruction, implementing a new writing curriculum for grades K-12, adding additional resources on the district level and providing more professional development for teachers. 

“Your schools will also have goals that are specific to them,” Kiser said. 

Goals for Math include improving the district’s TVAAS score in Numeracy to 3. The state Report Card for the 2016-17 gives the district an overall score of 1. 

Strategies to improve students’ academic growth in this area include adding additional resources on the district level and providing more professional development for teachers. 

Goals for the area of STEM include improving students’ overall performance in STEM subjects and increasing students’ familiarity with technology. 

Strategies in this area include implementing new science standards, making available a new online classroom management option for grades 5-12, expanding the district’s technology initiative and providing more professional development for teachers. 

Goals for College and Career Readiness include improving students’ ACT exam scores and graduation rates. 

Strategies for this include focusing on improving instruction in ACT-tested subjects, improving the high school credit recovery program, looking at improving early post-secondary (college) programs and looking at improving students’ opportunities to earn industry certifications. 

Michael Kahrs, director of student management, then elaborated on the new academic standards for science being implemented this coming fall. 

In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Education approved new standards for science, and educators have been making plans to implement them during the 2018-19 school year. These are the plans which dictate what teachers must include in their instruction. 

Kahrs noted this is first time since 2007 that Tennessee’s public schools have implemented new science standards. He added teachers are “excited” to begin the process of looking at new instructional materials. 

“This Friday, some of our teachers will meet with publishers and suppliers … to look at possible materials,” said Kahrs. 

This will start a process which will eventually lead to parents being able to look at sample copies of the textbooks their children's schools are considering. 

Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer then spoke to the group about recent events across the school district. 

These include: 

• The announcement that Cleveland High School is starting a new U.S. Air Force JROTC program this fall; 

• The Cleveland Board of Education’s December 2017 decision to move high school credit recovery students from the F.I. Denning Center to CHS; 

• Recent progress on the new elementary school now being built off Highway 60/Georgetown Road; and 

• Laptop computers being distributed to students at Cleveland Middle School as part of the district’s ongoing technology initiative.

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