Caddo Hills School Board discusses ACT testing

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    Caddo-LogoDERWOOD BRETT
    Caddo Hills School District officials made their annual report to the public at the regular monthly board meeting Monday night, October 12 in the school cafeteria. The public report is required by state law as one means of keeping the district’s patrons informed of the state of student achievement.
    While much of the data presented to the public is statistical and not easily understood, the report shows that the district is well within state averages and showed no deficiencies that would mandate school remediation by the Arkansas Department of Education.
    Superintendent Deric Owens told the board and public visitors that a new assessment program was instituted this school year. All students in grades 3-10 will take the ACT Aspire exam, which will cover math, language arts, reading, writing and science. Testing will be done online, he noted.
    All juniors will take the ACT exam, which was previously only given to students who paid a fee and signed up to take the test. Under new state guidelines all students will participate in testing, whether the student in planning to attend college or not.
    Elementary principal Josh Bright reported that students were achieving in Literacy but needed improvement in math skills.
    Methodology for assessment in high school accountability showed district students to be achieving in literacy,  but math scores need improvement. In addition, the district’s graduation rate needs improvement.
    Owens explained that more study would be necessary to identify reasons for the low graduation rate, but that several factors contributed to the graduation percentage. The graduation rate is based on students entering the 9th grade and graduating in the traditional four years.
    He noted that if a student leaves the district to become home schooled and the parents do not file the proper paperwork with district officials, that student would count against the graduation rate. The same situation could exist if a student moves out of state and proper documentation is not furnished to Caddo Hills by the new school district. Students who leave school at age 18, but before graduation, also contribute to a lower level.
    ACT scores are expected to decline this year, since all students will be required to take the test whether the student is planning to attend college or not. Previously, only college-bound students took the test. Under new state education requirements the test is mandated for all students.
    High School Principal Todd Baxley told the board and visitors that expectations are that some of the students who are required to take the test will not take it seriously and won’t make a strong effort to do well.
    The college remediation rate for entering freshmen in 2014 was 45.4 percent, which is a problem being addressed statewide as well as locally, district officials noted. The remediation rate reflects the percentage of students who require some type of extra class work to bring him/her up to acceptable entry level subject knowledge.
    The district report shows that 96 percent of teachers are certified in subject field. Those not certified are currently working under waiver and should be fully certified this year, according to the superintendent.
    Sixty percent of faculty members have Master’s degrees while 40 percent hold Bachelor’s degrees. Student population is made up of slightly less than 80 percent Caucasian and slightly more than 18 percent Hispanic.
    State statistics for Caddo Hills School District show that 80 students are being served through Title VI-B, commonly referred to as Special Education.
    Immediately after the public report, the board meeting was call into session by Board President Tammy Young, who noted that the first order of business was election of officers. She then nominated Allen Cureton to serve as president for the upcoming year. After a vote Cureton moved to the president’s position and conducted the remainder of the meeting.
    Terry Foshee was elected vice-president of the board, and Tom West was elected secretary and disbursement officer.
    An employee resolution was presented to note that Todd Baxley, high school principal, has a relative in the floral business in Glenwood. The board voted to recognize the relationship as required by state law.
    A number of upcoming activities were announced, including A flu clinic on October 15, Red Ribbon Week October 26-30 and a future Bike Night to encourage outdoor exercise and school activities.
    In addition, plans are to hold an Outdoor Movie Night later this year.
    A chicken cookout and auction will be held on Oct. 15 to benefit the track team. Parent Teacher conferences will be held Oct. 22.

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