No local schools ‘failing’

Published 5:22 pm Friday, February 12, 2016

For the third consecutive year, no Chilton County public schools are considered “failing.”

Pam Harris, school system test coordinator, said officials were notified that no local schools were failing.

“We’ve worked really hard on a lot of the areas that determine if schools are failing,” Harris said.

The Alabama Accountability Act defines failing schools as the bottom 6 percent of public Alabama schools based on the state’s standardized assessments in reading and math.

It was not clear Friday how many state schools have been deemed failing.

The classification is based on the 2014-15 academic year.

Last year, 70 schools were included on the list as failing. In 2013, there were 72 such schools.

Students are tested in reading and math in grades 3-8 with the Aspire assessment, and in reading and math in the 10th grade with the PLAN assessment.

Other indicators include attendance rate for elementary students, graduation rate and four-year graduation cohort, which tracks a class of students beginning with their ninth grade years through graduation.

Harris said school officials are proud of the system’s 86 percent graduation rate and 6 percent dropout rate, both of which are marked improvements over the past decade or so.

“With some of the changes we’re making in the county, we’re trying to keep these kids in school,” Harris said.

Harris pointed to the system’s use of tools including ACT Prep, Compass Learning and intervention for struggling students.

Also, an emphasis is placed on studying test scores to discover areas of curriculum that may need more attention or different instruction methods.

“We use test scores to drive instruction,” Harris said.