School Board hears ALES proficiency report

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LaRue students exceed state norm in math and reading

By Ashley Zsedenyi

Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Principal Amber Thurman presented the school’s proficiency report to the LaRue County School Board Dec. 21.

Thurman said different topics are covered each year and different grade levels are chosen to complete the projects that give students additional core content coverage.

She said she is “proud to have met all No Child Left Behind standards.”

“It is huge to meet the disability target,” she said.

She said she feels “very good about where we are in math,” but that “we have our work cut out for us in disability reading,” because the targets will make a significant jump this year – from 67.04 to 73.64 in reading. The target will increase from 51.53 to 61.23 in math.

A comparison with area schools shows LaRue County’s elementary schools rank first in math with 78.16 percent proficient and distinguished, and third in reading with 77.78 percent. LaRue County’s students are well above the state average in both areas, which is 70.27 in math and 73.54 in reading.

Thurman said there are numerous ways ALES teachers are working to increase student achievement in reading, including: job embedded professional development with national consultant Joan Knight; developing book rooms with leveled readers to match the instructional reading level of the kids; using Continuum and Prompting Guides to plan and implement guided reading; intentionally selecting books and teaching comprehension strategies; and working with Regie Routman’s “Transforming our Teaching” program.

She also said data is being gathered weekly through Running Records, and students are being benchmarked in reading three times a year.

Analyzing data in professional learning communities, she said, provides opportunities for interventions.

In math, Thurman said ALES teachers are increasing student achievement by: job embedded professional development with national consultant Libby Pollock; modeling and coaching students through “What’s My Place, What’s My Value?” to build number sense; allowing students to see multiple representations of numbers through “DOTS” lessons; asking students to think critically about problem solving and using hands-on manipulatives for concrete examples; building fluency for math facts; and analyzing data through professional learning communities to provide interventions.

She said LaRue County was approached recently to form a leadership partnership with Campbellsville Elementary School to work on barriers through professional development sessions, a Harvard WIDE course - Teaching for Understanding, and through the use of Webcams and Skype.

Thurman said the teachers and staff at ALES “are working incredibly hard to meet the needs of all kids and to do so in an engaging and meta-cognitive manner.”