By John R. Schirmer
Superintendent Doug Graham says he is “awfully proud of our teachers and students” for their performance on state testing in recent years.
Although the final results of last year’s tests won’t be released until later in the semester, Graham said none of the Nashville campuses are on the state’s focus or priority lists of schools which failed to meet Arkansas’s standards.
A number of schools are on the list statewide, from north Arkansas to Little Rock to the southern part of the state.
“I give all the credit in the world to our faculty. They’re working hard to keep test scores in a range that won’t be on that list,” Graham said.
Math coach Allyson Tollett and literacy coach Vicki Beene “are working with our faculty across different buildings. Teachers are getting input from both of them. So far, the faculty is really in line with the changes in testing through ACT Aspire,” Graham said.
The advantages of not being on the focus or priority list is “more flexibility on how we spend money. The state doesn’t move in” as has been the case in the Little Rock District. Nashville has more flexibility in a number of other areas as well.
When school report cards were issued last spring, “We were graded as average in three buildings and above average in one. That raised some eyebrows and concerns. We’ll figure out areas to improve. We’re not 100 percent happy with the letter grades, but our test scores are high enough that we’re not on focus or priority.
Lists of the focus and priority schools may be found on the Arkansas Department of Education website at www.arkansased.gov/esea-flexibility.