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SMS scores highest report card score for middle schools in county

Straughn Middle School has the highest Alabama State Report card score in the county with a 91.

On the 2017-2018 report card, SMS had an 87 and principal Cassandra Anderson said it felt good to see the score finally go up into the “A” range.

“We had an 86 the year before last,” Anderson said. “So seeing that score only go up one point last year kind of gave us the motivation to dig down and really push for that ‘A.’”

Anderson said the feeling of finally getting an “A” is a relief, but they are not done working.

“When I saw that it went up to a 91, I just thought, ‘Finally,’ but now we have to think about what we are going to do to keep it up,” Anderson said. “Of course we enjoyed the moment, but we know that we have to keep working.”

One of the areas where SMS increased their score immensely was chronic absenteeism, going from a 22.03 percent to just 7.04 percent this year.

“We knew last year that that was going to be one of the areas that we could really improve on,” Anderson said. “We started becoming more proactive with our parents and our students. We stressed the importance of being at school. We switched to a six period day, which made the classes longer. So, if they missed a period, then they would be missing out on a lot of information. It was really a team effort between the teachers, students and parents.”

Another area of improvement was academic achievement, but with the new standardized testing, Anderson said they are working hard to make sure all bases are covered.

“We did see some growth in the academic achievement category, which is the hardest area to improve,” Anderson said. “So, we are very pleased with that. We improved that by having a specific time set-aside for small groups and individualized instruction. The teachers love it because they get to work one on one and help those students that might need a little extra push. We are a little nervous about the new testing, but we are going to focus on teaching the course of study and staying positive.”

Anderson said the score could not have been possible without her staff and students working as hard as they could.

“We have an amazing faculty here at Straughn Middle School,” Anderson said. “They set high expectations for our students and the students try their best to meet those expectations.”