Board hears school report card update

Mills presents the story behind the numbers for Enterprise's school system. 

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Enterprise City Schools Board of Education, System 504/Testing Coordinator Karen Mills updated board members on scores and how the school system arrived at an overall “A” grade.

Mills said the system improved in all indicators including academic growth, English language proficiency and chronic absenteeism, the latter of which decreased from 19.8% to 9.64%. Based on student attendance in grades k-12, the metric considers students who missed a total of 18 or more days — excused or unexcused — during the school year.

“There was a large district-wide campaign using digital billboards around the city encouraging positive benefits of student attendance,” Mills said. “This was in conjunction with principals and key leaders in schools who were heavily involved in contacting parents and mentoring students to address attendance concerns. Their efforts to have students attending more consistently have had direct impact on all the other indicators.”

In English language proficiency, the school system grew from 42.03% to 48.59%. The score is determined based on the percentage of students who met their “growth targets” using a national test in grades 3-8 and 11 “as measured against progress targets,” Mills said.

“We have made a concerted effort as a system to address the needs of our second-language students — from dedication support at the Central Office to specialists in each school,” she said. “As its population has increased over the years, our school system has worked diligently to address their needs and help them become workforce and college ready.”

There was also growth in graduation rates (from 91% to 93.9%) and college and career readiness (from 81.06% to 82.97%).

“Our high school continues to work hard in identifying at-risk students and working as a team to address their needs and assist them in staying on track,” said Mills.

“We also continue to see growth in college and career readiness. Our (Enterprise Career and Technology Center) works diligently to remain current and progressive in planning meaningful courses and paths for our students. It remains a goal of our system to offer courses and pathways in areas of interest to our students.”

Each individual school in the system improved its report card grade with five of them moving up one letter grade.

Mills also said the school system continues to improve in areas such as ACT test prep and academic achievement.

“Compared to other schools in our area, we continue to have the highest indicator in academic achievement, as well as being among the 26 schools in the state earning an ‘A’. We have a lot to be proud of, but school leadership teams have already been working to continue to grow.

“For example, professional development is already in full swing to improve how we use progress monitoring tools, instructional strategies and mentorship. Next week we’ll be going into schools to meet with leadership to go deeper into school-specific data compared to previous years and across our district.”

Mills, who finished up her final year as assistant principal at EHS in May before moving to the Central Office, said she has been “impressed with the level of dedication” across the schools and “their desire to continue to improve in helping students be successful while pursuing their life goals.”

“A letter grade of “A” is an awesome accomplishment, but continuing to grow for our students is one of the most important goals a school system can work on,” she said.

ECS Superintendent Greg Faught said the scores are a testament to the hard work of employees in the entire system.

Board President Daniel Whitaker said the goal last year was to improve scores to an “A” and now the school system must “keep raising the bar every year.”

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