“Cleveland High School shows some great scores,” said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of city schools. “The elementary and middle schools have some room for improvement, but we are on the right path.”
High school students take the end of course test, also called the EOC, each year. Overall scores showed better than state average in all areas except Algebra I and U.S. history. The state average is 55.4 percent for Algebra I and CHS students scored a 48.3 percent. Ringstaff is confident the score will increase.
“We experienced a 12.3 percent growth in Algebra I since last year. That is huge growth for one year,” Ringstaff said.
Growth was also seen in Biology I with a 5.5 percent increase over last year’s score. U.S. history, English I, English II, and Algebra II all experienced minimal decreases. Three of the four subjects remain above state average with U.S. history .5 percent below average at 94.8 percent.
“Tennessee Department of Education has identified Cleveland City Schools as a District in Need of Subgroup Improvement,” said a recent press release from the school system.
“This means that we did attain our goals in the achievement category, but experienced a decline in gap closure in two sub-group areas. We declined slightly in our Asian student sub-group and our Socio-economic sub-group gap closure pass rates.”
The press release reported the needs will be addressed and focus will be maintained on the continued success for all students in the system.
Ringstaff said all city schools will be implementing benchmark testing. These tests will be taken every 4 1/2 weeks using the School Net Benchmarking Computer Software.
The tests will provide students with practice for TCAP and EOC. Ringstaff said he believes the schools have a very strong strategy that will allow test scores to improve dramatically.
According to a press release, Cleveland elementary and middle schools (grades 3-8), showed growth in math, science, and social studies while reading tested the same as last year. All results are within 5.5 percent of the state average. Ringstaff is confident notable changes will occur over the next year.
“There will be a big emphasis on 3-12 reading and English arts,” Ringstaff said. “Principals and teachers will discuss how they will improve understanding and test scores at their schools.”
Testing data will be used to target trouble areas. Special emphasis will be placed on reading and comprehension programs as the school system transitions to Common-Core Assessments. Reading scores revealed students in grade three through eight are 2.5 percent lower than the 49.9 state average percent.
“We know our teachers and kids have worked hard, and I believe there is still great room for growth,” Ringstaff said. “I feel very comfortable with where we are going.”
Cleveland schools plan to focus on family involvement over the next two years. Parents will be invited to be involved in the educational lives of their children.
“We are going to give them a chance to be a part of what we do. I do believe family involvement is the missing piece of students who are not successful. I believe if we can get families in the buildings with parents helping teachers, then the students will benefit,” Ringstaff said.
According to Ringstaff, teachers and principals are going into this next year with new ideas from the testing results. Problem areas wil be addressed along with a general strengthening of instruction.
“The good thing about testing is it starts over every year,” Ringstaff said. “When students walk in next week we will be at ground zero. We are starting all over again with a brand new set of kids.”