HAMILTON - Principals of four high schools in the Marion County School System presented material to the Marion County Board of Education citing areas of strengths and weaknesses based on recent testing data at the board’s Friday, Nov. 16, meeting.
Hackleburg High School
Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin said that 2018-2019 goals call for Hackleburg students to show a 2-percent increase in math and reading on state assessments.
Hardin said that the school will push to accomplish this through learning groups, including daily “bell-ringers” to engage students in problem-solving and incorporating math and reading vocabulary into daily lesson plans.
The Hackleburg principal said that the school will also use differentiated instructional methods through programs such as Classworks and Questbook ACT Prep.
Hardin said that teachers will be increasing practice opportunities for testing.
The high school’s second main goal for the year is for students to attend at least five sessions in the student advisory program.
According to the plan, students will meet two times during a nine-week period where advisors will discuss academic progress, career goals and any other relevant issues.
Hamilton High School
Hamilton High School Principal Steven Deavours told the board that his high school’s 2018-19 improvement goals include increasing math proficiency by the end of the school year.
His faculty will also continue to work toward decreasing in absenteeism.
“The faculty and staff at Hamilton High School would like to thank Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West and the board members for our technology and furniture monies that we receive from the board each year,” Deavours said.
In review of last year’s continuous improvement plans (CIPs), then-Marion County High School (MCHS) Principal Jason Bourland told the board that his school met its 2017-2018 goal of ensuring that every student had at least one supportive adult assigned to them as an advisor.
The school also saw a 76-percent increase in its usage of individual learning plans.
Bourland said that students exceeded goals in increasing reading and math proficiency rates.
The goal for reading was 55-percent proficiency and the school achieved 78 percent. The goal for math was set at 57-percent efficiency, but students posted 61 percent.
For the 2018-2019 school year, Bourland said that MCHS will continue to try and push the proficiency benchmarks upward.
The school will also attempt to increase student performance on ACT tests.
“We will conduct ACT prep classes to conduct sessions on test-taking strategies, guided practice and homework assignments to improve student awareness of the components of the test and how to increase the students’ overall school,” Bourland said.
The principal also said seniors will be using Workkeys review, a workforce preparedness test, to prepare them to obtain a career.
“We will continue to work during our response-to-intervention (RTI) period to ensure students are receiving remedial instruction as well as skills needed to succeed after high school,” Bourland said.
Phillips High School
According to last year’s data, Phillips High School Principal Keith Smith said that his school experienced the most improvement in reading and math proficiency.
“The trend for test scores from Scantron to the ACT are rising at Phillips High School,” Smith said. “Student and teacher morale have improved because we are showing that we can improvement.”
The principal said that the high school has seen impressive improvement in its graduation rates over the last decade.
The average rate in school years between 2011 and 2014 was 61 percent. This improved during school years between 2015 and 2018, where it rose to as high as 85 percent.
Smith said that this year, he is striving to see a 90-percent graduate rate.
Phillips High School has also dramatically improved college and career readiness from 17 percent in 2014 to 66 percent this year.
“Prior to 2015, classes were not divided into honors and standard sections,” Smith said. “After 2015, separate honors and standards sections were placed on the schedule.”
Smith explained that this resulted in the school going from zero advanced placement courses to seven courses ing 2015, including chemistry, U.S. History and English language and composition.
There are plans in place to add an advanced computer science class to the school’s curriculum.
The principal also explained that since the Marion County Board of Education obtained the waiver for the Advanced Career Technical Endorsement Diploma, Phillips High School has had six students graduate with the endorsement and two with their short-term certificate from Northwest-Shoals Community College in Phil Campbell.
The school currently has four students participating in the option.
The school is also offering a number of career technical courses, including Introduction to Agriculture (grade seven), Agricultural Explorations (grade eight), Agriscience (grades nine-12), Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates (grades nine-12), Animal Science (grades nine-12), Landscape Design (grades nine-12), Family and Consumer Sciences Education (grades nine-12), Family and Wellness (grade 10) and Life and Connections (grades nine-12).
See complete story in the Journal Record.