Test results a mixed bag for Central Kentucky school districts

gkocher1@herald-leader.comSeptember 26, 2013 

Test scores were a mixed bag for public schools in the counties surrounding Lexington.

In the results released Friday, 44 of the 97 schools in Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott and Woodford counties, including independent districts, met their goals for 2012-13. (One school in Burgin Independent and one in Frankfort Independent are counted twice because they have both middle school and high school students.)

Five school districts in the region did not meet their goals. They were Berea Independent, Burgin Independent, Frankfort Independent, Franklin County and Madison County.

All three schools in the Paris Independent district met their goals, but Superintendent Gary Wiseman said there was room for improvement.

"We're focusing on those areas we know we need to improve on," Wiseman said. "Fortunately, we're good in writing and we're really pleased with our results in writing. Math and reading are two areas that most school districts struggle with, but we're really focusing in on math."

The 730-pupil district added an "intervention" teacher in math at the middle school to give extra help to students there, Wiseman said.

Pilot View Elementary School in Clark County, with a score of 76.9, ranked ninth among the top 10 elementary schools in the state. It was the highest-scoring school among elementaries in the region around Fayette County. That's a good place to be, principal Stephen Jenkins said.

"I've been here 11 years, and it seems like each year we have gained the momentum, and then the past two years we've been at the top," Jenkins said. "We go beyond the teacher teaching the common core standards. We do everything we can to make sure kids are on grade level."

Ten schools in the regional counties were labeled "distinguished" for scoring in the 90th percentile or higher. In addition to Pilot View, they were Providence and Trapp elementaries in Clark County, West Jessamine High and Wilmore Elementary in Jessamine County; Model Lab High, Model Lab Middle and Silver Creek Elementary in Madison County; Northern Elementary in Scott County; and Woodford County High.

Ironically, Pilot View, Trapp and Providence elementaries are all scheduled to close in 2014 as part of a plan approved by the Clark County Board of Education. The board approved the plan in May in response to a state ultimatum to proceed or risk losing education funding.

Silver Creek Elementary, Northern Elementary and Woodford County High were all "schools of distinction," meaning they met their goals on test scores, student participation and graduation rates, and scored at the 95th percentile or higher on their overall scores.

On the downside, 20 schools in the 10-county region outside Fayette were designated as "focus schools." That's a result of low "gap" scores on the test, indicating that some of their student subgroups — minority, low-income or special-needs children — underperformed compared with peers statewide.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @heraldleader.

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