Opp Schools working to improve education

Published 12:02 am Thursday, November 17, 2011

Opp students Callie Caldwell and Nora Rose Hollinghaed read a book.


Opp City Schools principals and administrators are working to implement strategies to tackle different concerns within their schools.

On Tuesday, OHS principal Clayton Norris told the Opp City School Board he has three points he would like to improve within his school.

First, he and teachers would like to improve the school’s graduation rate to 90 percent or better.

“The last few years, it has been 83 percent,” he said. “Whether is is because they are not passing the AHSGE or core classes, we want to tackle that by using STI assessment and identifying standards that need more work. We’re also going to implement COMPASS learning and in school and after school remediation will continue to be used.”

Additionally, Norris said that they have added assistant principal Jimmy Reeves and another teacher to the exit interviews when a student chooses to drop out as another means of drop-out intervention.

Norris said school officials also want to improve reading scores.

“We’re down four points overall,” he said. “We’re going to use STI assessment in all classes to pinpoint the problem areas.”

Norris said the final goal is to increase tobacco and drug use awareness at the high school.

“We are going to bring the Choices program to the high school and include the middle school,” he said.

School principals said they are using Response to Intervention or RTI to identify the weakest standards and adapt to make the standards more successful.

“Research says 80 percent of kids will get it, 20 percent won’t,” OMS principal Aaron Hightower said. “We take the 20 percent and come up with a different way to get through to those kids.”

Assistant Superintendent Emily Edgar said data such as STI assessment and ARMT scores and other standardized tests bring the issues to the sch-ools’ attention.

Ed-gar said that teachers can look back on the past three to five years and see exactly which standards need improving.

OMS assistant principal Shawn Short agreed.

“The data doesn’t lie,” he said. “Our teachers know what the standards are and they can look back and say, ‘I need to work on this.’”

Short said OMS is working on bullying.

“It is an issue at the middle school,” he said. “Mrs. (Margaret) Fox is working with sixth graders. She actually has them make poster, etc. about it. We are thinking of moving it back to fifth grade.”

Additionally, Short said they are working toward bridging the gap with free lunch students.

“Our teachers are actually making profile sheets, and we will monitor those students and see their tiers,” he said.

Short said another focus is fifth and sixth grade special education subgroup.

“We have a deficiency in third, fourth, and fifth grade reading in special education,” he said. “Last year, 83 percent of these fifth graders were at a level two or not proficient. We need them to be at least a level three, but we want to get them to level four.”

Short said they were going to use, one-on-one instruction, to hone in on the deficiencies.

“We’ve been doing a better job getting the special education teachers in the classroom,” he said.

OES principal Brett Kinsaul said his teachers are working to increase math and reading comprehension.

“We’re specifically working on ARMT open-ended questions,” he said. “They are practicing on grids.”

Another new thing they have implemented is concept board, Kinsaul said.

“In each unit, we engage students with activities,” he said. “It’s a visual thing. All students learn differently. We’ve been doing walk-throughs to make sure our teachers are using them.”

Additionally, Kinsaul said each teacher has written one goal for her class.