RCS praised by education commissioner for science scores

Jeff Bobo • Aug 16, 2018 at 3:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The independent K-8 Rogersville City School was among a handful of systems across Tennessee to be singled out for praise by Education Commissioner Candice McQueen for being among the top five in achievement and for growth in a single subject.

That subject category was “grades 3-5 science.” McQueen praised RCS in a recent report for scoring second among Tennessee’s 145 school systems for achievement and fifth for improvement or “growth.”

Although the 2018 state report card “Value Added” results from testing last spring weren’t going to be released until Thursday, on Tuesday the RCS Board of Education received a mostly glowing report on its academic achievement scores.

RCS testing coordinator Shane Bailey also predicted that RCS will fair well in the Value Added report. He came to that conclusion by comparing achievement scores from one grade in 2016-17 to the 2017-18 results for that same group in the next higher grade.

Bailey told the BOE it appears there was “valued added” in nearly every grade and subject category.

RCS is among 17 school districts in the First Tennessee Core Region, which also includes systems in Hawkins, Sullivan, Washington, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Carter, Jefferson, Johnson, and Unicoi counties.

Here’s how RCS matched up with the region and the state in academic achievement on the 2018 report card in every test subject area:

* In grades 3-5 English/Language Arts (ELA), the state average was 35.7 percent on-track or mastered, and RCS was at 33.7 percent. In the core region, RCS was eighth of 17 and 65th out of 145 districts in the state.

That was the lowlight of Bailey’s report, and the only subject where RCS scored below the state average.

“(Grades) 3 through 5 ELA, we already know that’s an area of concern, and that’s where we’re going to put a lot of our focus,” Bailey said.

* In grades 6-8 ELA, the state average was 32.1 percent on-track or mastered, well below RCS at 44.4, which was second in the region and 11th in the state.

“The only one that had a higher percentage was Johnson City out of the First Tennessee Core Region,” Bailey said. “Keep in mind we dropped 3.4 percent from two years ago. So even though we did well, and we’re competing well and we’ve got good numbers, we still declined. We don’t want to forget that, but we also want to celebrate that.”

* In grades 3-5 math, the state average was 40 percent on-track and mastered, below RCS at 42.3, which was fifth in the region and 43rd in the state. However, the RCS percentage dropped 2.4 percent over the previous year.

* In grades 6-8 math, the state average was 34.6 on-track and mastered, well below RCS at 45.6, which was fifth in the region and 28th in the state. That was an increase of 6.8 percent for RCS.

“Compared to other districts, Elizabethton dropped 8.9, Johnson City dropped 3.4, and the state overall dropped 1.1 percent,” Bailey said.

Director Rebecca Isaacs noted that increase put RCS first in the region and sixth in the state for growth in that category.

* In grades 3-5 science, the state average was 56 percent on-track and mastered, well below RCS at 87.7, which was first in the region and second in the state. That was an 11.9 percent improvement over the previous year.

“I would like to give the board kudos for the implementation of our STEM program,” Isaacs said. “I think that certainly had an impact. We typically don’t call teachers out when we’re discussing data at City School, but the reality is we have one person teaching fifth grade science.

“She was a first-year teacher. She did an amazing job. She had strong leadership from the administration, she had strong mentoring from her colleagues, and I truly believe the implementation of our STEM program figured in there as well. For Rogersville City School to be No. 2 among all the Williamson Counties and Maryvilles is pretty outstanding.”

* In grades 6-8 science, the state average was 60.2 percent on-track and mastered, well below RCS at 74, which was third in the region and 21st in the state.

Eight RCS students had perfect scores, and they will be identified and honored by the board at a later date.

Two students had perfect scores in third grade math, two students scored perfect in fifth grade science, one student in sixth grade math, and three students in eighth grade science.