Tupelo School Board meeting has begun. All board members are present except Amy Heyer. Board President Eddie Prather said that Heyer will not be able to attend today.
The board will also meet at 5 p.m. today at Tupelo High School. It will vote on agenda items at that time. During this afternoon's meeting, the board will get information about and discuss the agenda.
Prather said he wants to thank students, teachers and administrators for their great performance on last year's state tests. The board applauds.
Testing coordinator Lea Johnson is now making a presentation about the district's state ranking.
Ranking is based on three things. QDI is based on how students score. Percent of basic 2 times percent proficient 2 times percent advanced.
Growth is the second factor. On the MCT, third grade is benchmark year. Based on third grade score, they look at math and language arts to predict your math score the next year and they look at math and language arts to predict your language score. It is a complicated formula that looks at what you did the year before.
In high school, they take your math and langauge arts eighth grade scores to predict each of the four Subject Area Tests.
For a high school or a district, they also add the graduation rate. The federal model uses a four-year cohort. The state uses a five-year cohort. It must be greater than 75 percent to be High Performing and better than 80 percent to be Star.
For this year, graduation rate did not factor in. It will be back next year in some form.
Over the last three years, district's QDI has risen from 159 to 162 to 169. It has been above the state average each time. This year was the first year the district made growth.
Now Johnson is going through individual schools. TMS made small gains but kind of leveled off. The high school's score declined,but Johnson said the district believes is has things in place to correct that.
Johnson said Rankin made really big gains this year. All elementaries were High Performing. Lawndale, Pierce Street and Lawhon also showed growth.
Milam had growth last year, Johnson said, going from Academic Watch to Successful and they met growth.
Loden said you want to be above 180 threshold on QDI because it gives you leeway if they change the model. Only five districts have been star since the model was created four years ago. Loden said if you are in the 180s, you are in the top 15 or 25 distircts in the state.
Tupelo is 43rd in the state with its QDI. With a 176, it would be in top 30. A 180 would be top 25 and 188 would be top 20.
Johnson: "What is the district doing now?"
Loden has brought in P.E.T. model. Principals of Effective Teacing. It includes Bell-to-bell instruction, set, closure, questioning skills.
The district has more data tools: ELS (Computer database), common assessments, accountability analyzer (gives the big picture and senior snapshot information that helps with dropout prevention).
Other programs include Classworks, Reading Street, PD360. Those are designed to help teachers more effectively use their time, Johnson said.
The distcit is looking at the role of pre-AP in its transition to Common Core.
Areas of Concern.
U.S. history, Tupelo had 157. State average was 141. Cut score was dropped four points because so many students in the state couldn't make original cut score. It will be raised back this year.
Also, Johnson said, U.S. history test will count toward QDI next year. So will fifth- and eigth-grade science. SCores on those test are traditionally low.
Tupelo is projected to be at 74.6% for next year. That is the five-year cohort. Johnson said the state may switch to the four-year cohort next year.
Loden said that adding U.S. history would have brought the high school down to Academic Watch this year. He said the 3rd to 5th grade schools had higher QDIs, but adding the science scores could bring them down.
He said it looks like they will change how the state looks at graduation rate. He said there has been some discussion to track graduation the way Florida does. He said that changing to the Florida model so close to the switch to Common Core is concerning.
Loden: "We will focus on what we can control. Address the areas where we see issues and try to be proactive in the way we managa change."
Loden said the district is applying for a Race to the Top district grant. It could bring as much as $20 million over four years. The minimum is $10 million.
If Tupelo receives the grant, Loden said, it would use that for early-childhood education, dual enrollment and taking the current technology that the district has and enhancing it.
"An infusion of $10 to $20 million over four years would be wonderful," Loden said.
Diana Ezell is speaking about IE Day. On Oct. 30, Bill Daggett will be speaking at a community forum about education in Mississippi
The next day, Oct. 31, is IE day. That afternoon, all of Tupelo and Lee County teachers will attend Industry-Education Day. Dr. Sue Gendron (spell ?) will be the speaker. Her expertise is common core assessments.
"It should be a great two days, not just for our school district, but for the entire area that CREATE serves," Ezell said.
Loden said that the district has been approved for $4.4 million of Quaility School Construction Bonds. It is working behind the scences to look at its facilities plan to look at how best to use them. It will make a presentation soon. Loden said they are looking at enhancing pre-K, among other things.
The board will have a work session on Oct. 9. It will include an update on the Classworks and Reading Street Programs and an update on the budget process. It will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Lea Johnson is presenting about the district's test security plan, which needs to be updated every year.
Director of Facilities Julie Hinds is presenting about the TPSD school safety plan and crisis management plan.
Updates include: mass communication to parents is now accomplished through ALERT Now. There is also a flow chart for schools or whom to contact, and a chain of command for contacting different departments.
All communication to media is handled by superintendent or his designee.
Board member Kenneth Wheeler, who oversees security at the hospital, said the plan looks good.
Board meeting adjourns at 12:45 p.m. It will reconvene at Tupelo High at 5 tonight.