When it comes to meeting federal targets, Sampson County Schools officials are staying optimistic despite receiving negative data.
Lisa Reynolds, director of federal programs presented the Annual Measurable Objectives, a series of federal performance targets which includes many subgroups. According to data recently presented to the county’s board of education, Sampson County decreased by a little more than 6.5 percent when it came to meeting targets during the previous school year, compared to the 2013-2014 academic period.
Reynolds alluded to how it’s a number game and how she’s not concern about the data involving less targets and higher numbers are being evaluated.
“It does seem like we’re going down, but a lot of this is just math,” Reynolds said. “If you also notice, we’re measuring a lot less targets. That means everyone that you miss counts more…”
Some of the elementary and middle targets include End-of-Grade (EOG) tests for math, reading and attendance. Schools with negative numbers included Clement Elementary, Hargrove, Salemburg and Roseboro. All middle schools in the district had negative numbers as well.
“A lot of this has to do with math,” Reynolds said. “Normally reading is our issue.”
Once again, Reynolds stressed how it’s not something to be concerned about.
“We know what’s going on in the classroom,” she said. “We’re teaching the standards and we’re teaching the way the work places want them to learn.”
She also mentioned how regional school leaders noticed that how some students are playing catch-up because of the Common Core Standards, which are different than education several years ago. But Reynolds said the biggest matter involves testing and how it does not match up with how they are being taught.
“You know, we talk about the Common Core testing … well, we’re not doing the Common Core testing yet,” she said. We’re still using our old testing style. We’re teaching our kids math skills and how to think but we’re not teaching them the same way.”
For high school’s, a few includes End-of-Course tests for math, English and graduation rates. Some of the decreases from the previous year included Lakewood, Midway and Union.
Along with Common Core issues, another change is demographics in the subgroup category. She referenced the rising Hispanic population and how four elementary school no longer have a black subgroup. Reynolds said a particular group must have at least 40 to be accounted. During the presentation, she said there’s not an elementary group that does not have a tested Hispanic subgroup.
“That tells us where a lot of our changes are coming from,” she said. “It also means that our teachers are having to teach differently and they have to learn differently.”
She mentioned how county schools are having to readjust. In addition, residents facing economical hardships is another matter.
But overall, Reynolds pointed out how the district is moving forward despite the challenges she discussed.
“I think our county is doing very well.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.