Board hears early progress
Board hears early progress
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – Campus leaders of the five schools in the Hope Public School District reported first quarter progress to the Hope Public Schools Board here Monday night.

Chevron system reports have been implemented across the district for each campus on a quarterly schedule, according to HPSD Superintendent Bobby Hart.

Hart said these reports are designed to provide administration and the school board with an overview of progress on each campus ranging from attendance to assessment scores and other data relative to goals established for each campus.

“You are going to get one of these every quarter,” Hart told the board.

Clinton Primary School Principal Ashlea Stewart told the board that her campus has 993 students enrolled this year in grades kindergarten through four. Stewart said a beginning of year review of Dibels and Star universal screenings show mixed results for content retention in reading and numeracy compared with ACT Aspire reports from 2015-2016.

She attributed the difference, in large part, to the shift from PARCC testing to ACT Aspire.

ACT Aspire for 2015-2016 showed achievement for third graders at 55 percent in English, 16 percent in writing, 15 percent in reading, and 33 percent in math. Achievement levels for fourth graders were at 37 percent in English, 8 percent in writing, 18 percent in reading, and 29 percent in math, according to the report.

“Implementation in 2015-16 of Direct Instruction in Kindergarten and 1st grade has shown growth in Language and Reading,” Stewart’s report notes.

Beryl Henry Elementary School Principal Dr. Roy Turner also noted the difficulty in assessment comparisons because of the statewide testing change to ACT Aspire, which contributed to the “focus” status for BHE from the state.

Without having taken the ACT Aspire in the current school year, the report reflected no current results, but results in the 2015-2016 school year show a generally solid base.

Results in the fifth grade showed achievement at 24 percent in math, 23 percent in reading, 67 percent in English, 13 percent in writing, and 23 percent in science.

Turner said the Strive for Five attendance initiative is taking hold on the BHE campus and has students excited.

Dr. Carol Ann Duke reported from the Hope Academy of Public Service campus.

Dr. Duke pointed to beginning of year comparisons to ACT Aspire for the 5-8 campus, which show that 50 percent of fifth graders, 68 percent of sixth graders, 46 percent of seventh graders, and 42 percent of eighth graders scored at “proficient” or “advanced” in language skills at the beginning of the year. Similarly, 79 percent of fifth graders, 80 percent of sixth graders, 43 percent of seventh graders, and 33 percent of eighth graders scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math.

Initial ACT Aspire scores showed status quo or improvement across both skill sets, according to the report.

Language scores of “proficient” or “advanced” were recorded for 51 percent of fifth graders, 67 percent of sixth graders, 73 percent of seventh graders, and 68 percent of eighth graders on ACT Aspire, according to the report.

Math scores of “proficient” or “advanced” were recorded for 54 percent of fifth graders, 45 percent of sixth graders, 80 percent of seventh graders, and 47 percent of eighth graders on ACT Aspire, according to the report.

Data from HAPS reflects the “shared” nature of students on the campus drawn from other campuses, Duke said.

Duke said the unique partnership between HAPS and the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock has contributed to a 98 percent student participation in mandatory public service projects at the school.

“This year, Yerger Middle School will focus on culture and climate, focused and purposeful data, and meaningful instruction,” YMS Principal Josclyn Wiley told the board.

Across the 270 students on the campus, and accounting for a reduced population without HAPS students, seventh grade “achievement” scores were 69 percent in English, 29 percent in reading, 30 percent in writing, and 49 percent in math. Eighth grade “achievement” scores showed 33 percent in English, 14 percent in reading, 9 percent in writing, and 16 in math from 2015-2016 ACT Aspire data.

“It’s not just about having the numbers, but using that to see our own need,” Wiley said. “There is so much potential; and there is a long way to go, but our teachers have bought in and our students have bought in.”

At Hope High School, also under scrutiny by the state, HHS Principal Bill Hoglund said significant changes are under way in response to a greater emphasis upon data-driven instruction.

“One of the things I’m really excited about is the Data Wall,” Hoglund said.

He said the data interpretation tool is a powerful reminder to teachers where each student in their classes stands academically.

“It’s a powerful experience for our teachers to see a kid go up or down,” Hoglund said. “They know where each kid is on a day to day basis.”

Hoglund said the concept was developed by HPSD School Improvement Specialist Carla Narlesky for that purpose.

Student and teacher surveys conducted at HHS have produced results such as “Student Voice” on the campus, which has helped teachers and administrators better understand student concerns about the educational process, Hoglund said.

Hoglund also announced that HHS has eliminated “homework” assignments for students, focusing rather upon more complete learning in the classroom.

“We work really hard in the classroom,” he said.

Hoglund said many HHS students come from families where home life is not conducive to supplementing student learning after school.

“Not everybody has the ability,” he said.

But, the intensive shift is paying off, Hoglund said, as 61 HHS students are currently enrolled in concurrent credit classes at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, and 10 are in similar specialty classes offered through Southern Arkansas University Tech.

In other matters before the board, trustees:

--Reviewed strategic planning efforts and heard a report from Narlesky reflecting information required by the Arkansas Department of Education.

--Approved a surplus inventory list for disposal.

--Purchased new monitoring cameras for the HHS campus at a cost of $13,500.

--Approved a policy statement concerning bus driver compensation at the request or state auditors.

--Approved a “risk assessment” policy statement at the request of state auditors.

--Acted upon personnel resignations, retirements and new hires, including the announced retirement of HHS English teacher Janet Banister.

--Conducted a brief closed hearing on a student expulsion action at the request of the student’s parents; and, upheld the recommended expulsion of the YMS student.