Limestone County Schools system releases statement on state’s Education Report Card

Here’s the statement released by Limestone County Schools:

Limestone County, AL – Limestone County Schools received an overall “83” average on the Alabama Report Card released today by the ALSDE. Out of 12 schools, 9 schools received a “B” and 3 schools received a “C.” Unfortunately, the report card was largely based on the ACT Aspire which is no longer used as the state assessment for student achievement. In July 2017, the State Board of Education failed to renew the contract with ACT because test questions did not correlate with Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards.

High school scores were calculated using the following categories: Academic Achievement (20%), Academic Growth (30%), Graduation Rate (30%), College and Career Readiness (10%), and Chronic Absenteeism (10%). Limestone County earned high marks in Academic Growth with 90.80% of students demonstrating growth in reading and math and a Graduation Rate of 93%. Elementary scores were calculated using only three categories which included Academic Achievement (40%), Academic Growth (50%), and Chronic Absenteeism (10%). For elementary schools, the ACT Aspire administered to only 3rd – 5th grade students, accounted for 90% of the report card. Another report card concern is chronic absenteeism. Students missing 15 days of school were considered chronically absent. This score includes excused, unexcused, and principally approved absences. “During the cold and flu season, it is easy for students, especially K-2 grade students, to miss many days,” according to Brad Lewis, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Limestone County Schools. “With visits to the doctor and trying to remain fever free, many students easily reach the 15 day mark.” Unfortunately, 20.57% of all Limestone County students were considered chronically absent. Parents, teachers, administrators, and school nurses will continue working together to decrease student absences.

Although Limestone County Schools hoped for an “A” on the state report card, the results demonstrate consistent, systematic improvement in student growth. According to Lewis, “Teachers are providing explicit standards based instruction and students are responding in a positive manner. We still have work to do, but the district is headed in the right direction.”

With the addition of A+ College Ready (AP) courses for high school students and Laying the Foundation (advanced) classes in middle school, students are exposed to rigorous lessons that improve learning and student achievement. Limestone County School are also expanding STEM opportunities at each of the six high schools and at the Career Technical Center. Future plans include the creation of STEM programs at all K-5 schools. By providing a solid foundation for all students, Limestone County Schools expects continued student growth, overall improvement with state assessments, and will soon receive an “A” on the state report card.