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CMCSS Grad Rate Continues to Climb

Please note: This article was originally published on 12/2/2011. Information and/or dates from past events may be not be relevant for the current school year.


The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System overall is performing well based on data released today in the Tennessee 2011 Report Card. Among the high points of the data is the system's continued improvement of its high school graduation rate at 93.5 percent.


"This school system, hand in hand with the community, has had a focused determination on improving the numbers of students graduating. We are seeing the fruits of our labor as we have moved from a rate of 76 percent in 2004 to where we are today," according to Director of Schools Mike Harris. "It's nice to drive into town and see the signs proclaiming '100% Graduation is Clarksville's Business' and know there is merit behind the words."


In terms of achievement, the school system scored A's in Science and Social Studies and B's in Math and Reading/Language compared to the state's scores of B's in Math and Social Studies and C's in Reading/Language and Science. The state has undergone several changes in recent years with the implementation of new curriculum standards and more rigorous assessment, while restructuring how scores are calculated. A "C" is the expected achievement for students,
Value-added measures student progress within a grade and subject, which demonstrates the influence the school has on the students’ performance. This reporting provides diagnostic information for improving educational opportunities for students at all achievement levels. CMCSS scored C's in Math and Reading, a B in Social Studies and a D in Science for academic growth.
"We know there is work to do in science," said Chief Academic officer B.J. Worthington. "We will continue to focus on the more rigorous standards in science. Our system-wide integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will help us get where we need to be." This year was the first for STEM to be integrated in all CMCSS schools.


Many schools experienced improvements in their scores. One example comes from Minglewood Elementary where Math scores went from a D to an A. Minglewood principal Jane Winter emphasized that the improvement came from "absolute focus."
"We created the demand last year when we found there was a need in math. We came together as a staff and made a plan we called 'mission possible.'" She said that all teachers worked toward a 90 minute math block for students in kindergarten to fifth grade. She said resources went to supporting the focus, from professional development training on math teaching strategies to using hands-on activities for students."

 

Other schools also made significant gains, including Norman Smith Elementary which moved from one C and three F's to one A and three B's.

Smith principal Beth Unfried said, "We decided to make some major changes at Smith. We put our focus on literacy. We believed in our children and we believed in ourselves as educators. We knew it wouldn't be easy, but it was very strategic and intentional."


"We know that all children can learn and excel and that's the attitude we adopt.If our children can read and write proficiently they can excel in all areas. You have to really focus on each individual child. And you have to be responsible for each individual. We've worked hard at not letting one child slip."


When congratulated on the achievement compared to the previous scores, Unfried said "It's just begun. It's a wonderful celebration and shows that hard work does pay off, but we still have a lot of work to do and it is just the beginning."

The complete state report card may be viewed at http://edu.reportcard.state.tn.us/pls/apex/f?p=200:1:81043470598834