Local schools earn B’s

Published 4:30 am Saturday, December 29, 2018

County system’s scores most improved for 2017-18

The 2017-2018 Alabama State Report Cards are in and the Covington County School system increased its score from last year’s report card by seven points.

“We are very pleased with our score,” Superintendent Shannon Driver said. “I feel like this is evidence of the outstanding work of our students, faculty and parents.”

Each of the nine schools in the county system increased its scores from last year, with W.S. Harlan showing the most improvement, upping its 16 points from a 68 to an 84.

The report card score is based on several different elements including academic achievement, academic growth, graduation rate, college and career readiness, progress in English language proficiency and chronic absenteeism.

“The report card does not tell all of the good things that are going on in the schools,” Driver said. “But it does reflect very key elements like academic growth, and we had improvements all over the board.”

Driver said that those improvements were made by sheer focus from all schools.

“We have had intense focus at all schools on the components that we were graded on,” Driver said. “It is really good to see that we have improved.”

Driver said that a change in the reading program really helped the improvements of schools across the county.

“We made some modifications to our reading coach program,” Driver said. “And I believe that really made some positive impacts across the board for our schools. Overall I am just very proud of our teachers. We focused on remediation, intervention strategies and trying to read into each of our students’ weaknesses to see what we can improve on.”

Driver said that improving the scores was a community effort.

“It was a coordinative effort across the board,” Driver said. “Everyone will be really pleased whenever they see these scores, and it is a great thing for these teachers to see that their hard work is paying off.”

Opp City Schools received the same overall score as last year, with Opp Elementary School dropping six points from last year’s score.

“Overall as a system we stayed the same,” Superintendent Michael Smithart said. “There were some surprising things, but overall we stayed the same.”

Smithart said that he was surprised at how the elementary schools score dropped.

“Some things we just don’t have control over,” Smithart said. “Our growth numbers are looking good though, and we will continue to work towards bettering the schools.”

Opp High School was the only school in the OCS system to increase its score, going from from a 72 last year to an 80.

“It is really good to see that number increase,” Smithart said. “We put a greater focus on the ACT and Mr. Hightower has been doing a great job over there so we are proud of that number increasing.”

Andalusia City Schools’ overall score dropped two points from last year’s score, from an 83 to an 81, with Andalusia Elementary School’s score dropping 11 points from an 81 to a 70.

“When your score drops there is a certain reason,” Superintendent Ted Watson said. “We don’t want to overreact or anything like that.”

Watson said despite the score decreasing, educators will still work hard this year to increase it.

“We are working hard to make sure our numbers stay high,” Watson said. “The report card rides on waves of various classes and we have to make sure that we take a look at each element and celebrate the good and correct the bad.”

Andalusia High School’s score did increase from an 81 to an 83.

“When any of our schools has an increase in the score it’s not a surprise,” Watson said. “It just depends on the testing circumstances and attendance and all of these elements, because everything plays into the score.”