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HCS Sees Significant Growth Across the District in Milestones Performance

Submission Date: July 26, 2019

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 161, john.hardin@henry.k12.ga.us

(Release # 0005-07-19)

HCS Sees Significant Growth Across District in Milestones Performance  

HCS Sees Significant Growth Across the District in Milestones Performance

District schools show marked improvement in Proficient and above levels

HENRY COUNTY, GA – After a year of laser focus on student learning, Henry County Schools has much to celebrate with significant growth being revealed in the performance on the latest Georgia Milestones.  Data released from the 2018-2019 school year indicates the district has shown improvement in 20 out of the 24 tested grades and courses when compared to the 2017-2018 school year.

The Georgia Department of Education released state, system, and individual school scores for the 2019 spring administration of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System today for both End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) assessments.  End of Grade scores report on student performance in grades 3-8, while End of Course scores report on student performance in eight different high school courses. Data released shows Henry County Schools outpaced the state’s performance level-changes from spring 2018 to spring 2019 in 18 out of 24 tested grades or courses.

The Georgia Milestones assess student learning along four levels of performance: Beginning Learners, Developing Learners, Proficient Learners, and Distinguished Learners.  These performance designations are intended to emphasize the progression of a student’s learning rather than emphasize just a test score. (Full descriptions of each level provided at the end.) 

District Growth from spring 2018 to spring 2019 (See Tables 1, 2, and 3)

In pursuit of becoming the fastest improving and highest achieving system in the metro Atlanta region, Henry County Schools has solid evidence to support this goal with the latest state assessment results released. This signifies not only that Henry County Schools’ student performance is increasing, but also that the gap between the district results and that of the state comparison is closing. 

One example of a school experiencing a banner year in student achievement is Locust Grove Middle School.  The school’s principal, Kevin Van Tone, saw his school achieve growth in all tested subject areas, a feat that he attributes to the hard work of teachers and staff, district leaders, and the school community in supporting students.  With the right resources and support, he knows that Locust Grove Middle School can continue to show improvement.

The following data highlights 2019 district performance and growth for each of the four core subject areas assessed by the End of Grade and End of Course assessments administered in the spring.  Winter EOC performance data, which was originally released in January of 2019, is also included in the accompanying tables as a reference to enable viewing of yearly assessment results at the high school level.

English Language Arts Performance (See Tables 4 and 5)

The 2019 performance of Henry County Schools reflects an overall growth from spring 2018 in EOG courses in every grade level by at least two percentage points.  When compared to the state’s growth, HCS met or outpaced the state’s growth in seven of eight ELA tested areas. 

In English Language Arts-related high school courses, the district’s spring percentage of high school students scoring at Proficient and above was 60 percent in 9th Grade Literature & Composition. This is an 11 percent increase from the previous year and the highest growth of all EOC ELA-tested courses. In elementary and middle school, students scoring at Proficient and above in English Language Arts increased district-wide in every grade level by an average of 4.5 percentage points. The highest growth was seen in 6th grade ELA, which improved seven percentage points over last year’s performance.

 While the district growth was significant, the growth in ELA was even greater at the school-level for some of the schools in Henry County:

  • In English Language Arts, 18 elementary schools had gains of 10 percentage points or more from 2018 to 2019 in the percentage of students scoring at Proficient and above levels, with two schools - Austin Road Elementary and Pleasant Grove Elementary - realizing gains of 20 percentage points or more in at least one grade level. Schools with double-digit gains are highlighted below:
    • 3rd grade: Austin Road, Cotton Indian, Dutchtown, East Lake, Flippen, Hickory Flat, Rocky Creek, Woodland
    • 4th grade: Mt. Carmel, New Hope, Unity Grove, Walnut Creek
    • 5th grade: Dutchtown, East Lake, Fairview, Flippen, Luella, Oakland, Ola, Pleasant Grove, Red Oak, Unity Grove, Walnut Creek

East Lake Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 3rd and 4th grade at 58 and 59 percent, respectively.  East Lake and Ola Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 5th grade at 56 percent.

  • Four middle schools saw English Language Arts gains of 10 percentage points or more in the percentage of students scoring at Proficient and above in one or more grade levels.  While no schools realized double-digit gains in 8th grade ELA, Hampton, Luella, Union Grove, and Woodland gained seven percentage points over their 2018 performance.
    • 6th grade: Austin Road, Hampton, Locust Grove, Woodland
    • 7th grade: Locust Grove

Union Grove Middle School had the highest ELA scores for Proficient and above levels for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at 53, 53, and 61 percent, respectively.

  • Eight high schools experienced significant gains in ELA EOC performance with gains of seven percentage points or more in Proficient and above levels.
    • 9th Grade Literature: Dutchtown, Hampton, Locust Grove, Luella, Ola, Stockbridge, Union Grove, and Woodland
    • American Literature: Locust Grove and Luella

Union Grove High School had the highest scores for Proficient and above levels in 9th Grade Literature and American Literature at 81 and 63 percent, respectively.

At the high school level, Martin Gore, Hampton High School Principal, noted that his school’s 9th Grade Literature performance was the result of many factors.

“High-performance levels start with our high-quality teachers,” stated Gore.  “The teachers utilized a combination of the Henry Teaching and Learning Standards and Learning Progressions, coupled with administrator-supported collaborative planning. 

“Additionally, we employed the use of literacy intervention tools to support our students, and our results bear that out.”

At the elementary school level, an intense focus on reading is what Flippen Elementary Principal Dr. Toni Obenauf attributes to her students’ success.  She shared that the team buy-in from her teachers and the vertical support from grade level to grade level made a huge difference in student outcomes.

“My teachers worked tirelessly to support one another and ultimately helped our students to flourish this year,” said Obenauf.  “It was remarkable to see them all pull together and meet their goals.”

Lexile Performance (See Table 9)

In addition to the performance the Milestones assessment provides about ELA, performance is also articulated for student reading levels through the computation of a Lexile score. From 2018 to 2019, Henry County Schools Lexile performance has improved in six out of eight grade and courses assessed, and met or outpaced the state’s Lexile growth in four grades and courses.  An area of great success was that 83 percent of students in 9th grade Literature performed within or above the grade level Lexile, matching the state average.

Mathematics Performance (See Tables 4 and 6)

In Math, HCS met or outperformed the state growth in five (5) out of seven (7) math EOG and EOC grades and courses.

Third grade students had the strongest performance in the district, with 44 percent of students scoring at Proficient learner or above, which represents a nine-percentage point improvement over last year. Overall, this performance demonstrates a growth from spring 2018 to spring 2019 of at least two percentage points in 88 percent of tested courses and subjects.

Similar to the performance in ELA, many schools in Henry County showed significant growth in Math performance in comparison to previous years:

  • A total of 19 elementary schools had gains of 10 percentage points or more over the previous year in the percentage of students scoring at Proficient and above levels. Schools with double-digit gains are highlighted below:
    • 3rd grade: Austin Road, Dutchtown, East Lake, Hampton, Hickory Flat, Luella, Mt. Carmel, New Hope, Ola, Pleasant Grove, Rocky Creek, Unity Grove, Walnut Creek, Wesley Lakes
    • 4th grade: Dutchtown, Hampton, Locust Grove, Luella, Mt. Carmel, Smith-Barnes, Tussahaw, Unity Grove, Walnut Creek
    • 5th grade: Austin Road, East Lake, Fairview, Flippen, Luella

Timber Ridge Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 3rd grade at 69 percent. East Lake and Ola Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 4th grade at 67 percent.  East Lake Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 5th grade at 63 percent.

  • Two middle schools realized gains in a grade level’s Math performance of 10 percentage points or more in Proficient and above levels.
    • 6th grade: Locust Grove and Ola
    • 8th grade: Locust Grove

Ola Middle School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at 55, 54, and 36 percent, respectively.  Union Grove Middle School 7th graders also achieved 54 percent of learners at the Proficient and above levels.

  • Four high schools experienced significant gains in Math performance in Algebra I with gains of seven percentage points in Proficient and above levels. Comparable numbers are not available for Geometry as the school system recently switched from Analytic Geometry.
    • Algebra I: Dutchtown, Hampton, Luella, Woodland

Ola High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in Algebra at 39 percent, while Union Grove High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in Geometry at 72 percent.

One school seeing remarkable growth in Math is Luella Elementary.  Principal Dr. Carla Montgomery shared that they used a multi-strategy approach to meet the needs of all learners.  This included pre- and post-assessments throughout the year to measure student skill levels and growth, differentiation of assignments to focus on specific skills, digital resources, parent involvement, accelerated instructional opportunities, and additional support for students requiring greater assistance.  This helped produce double-digit gains in all tested grades.

“Offering our students many types of opportunities helped keep student involvement high throughout the year resulting in significant gains in our achievement levels,” said Montgomery.

Science Performance (See Tables 4 and 7)

From 2018 to 2019, Henry County Schools outpaced the state’s growth in three (3) out of four (4) science courses, which included 5th grade Science, Biology, and high school Physical Science. The performance in Science reflects an improvement of six percentage points in Grade 5, seven percentage points in Biology, and eight percentage points in Physical Science.

Although science is only tested in two grades and two courses, schools across the district were able to see growth in this key subject area.

  • Nine elementary schools realized gains of 10 percentage points or more in 5th grade Science performance at Proficient and above levels.
    • 5th grade: Bethlehem, East Lake, Fairview, Flippen, Luella, Ola, Pleasant Grove, Red Oak, Unity Grove

East Lake Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 5th grade at 63 percent.  Union Grove Middle School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 8th grade at 55 percent.

  • Across the district’s EOC Science courses, eight schools realized increases of seven percentage points or more at Proficient and above levels compared to 2018.
    • Biology: Dutchtown, Eagle’s Landing, Hampton, Henry County, Ola, Union Grove, Woodland
    • Physical Science: Dutchtown, Luella, Union Grove

Ola and Union Grove High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in Biology at 61 percent.  Union Grove High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in Physical Science at 57 percent.

Social Studies Performance (See Tables 4 and 8)

From 2018 to 2019, Henry County Schools met or outpaced the state’s performance level-changes in all four Social Studies tested areas (two EOG and two EOC).

For the spring administration of social studies End of Course assessments, the district performance in US History increased two percentage points in the Proficient and above performance levels. On the EOG, the district’s performance of 5th graders in Social Studies grew by five percentage points over last year, while 8th grade performance grew by three percentage points.

Many individual schools saw their performance in Social Studies increase by substantial numbers when comparing to last year’s assessments.

  • Seven elementary schools realized gains of 10 percentage points or more in 5th grade Social Studies at Proficient levels and above 
    • 5th grade: Cotton Indian, East Lake, Fairview, Pleasant Grove, Rock Spring, Smith-Barnes, Timber Ridge

Timber Ridge Elementary had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 5th grade at 59 percent.

  • Two middle schools in the district saw gains of 10 percentage points or higher at levels of Proficient and above.
    • 8th grade: Austin Road and Locust Grove

 Ola Middle School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in 8th grade at 47 percent.

  • Three high schools saw gains of seven percentage points or better in the Proficient and above performance levels on Social Studies EOC assessments.
    • Economics: Dutchtown and Henry County
    • US History: Luella

Ola High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in Economics at 67 percent.  Union Grove High School had the highest Proficient and above level scores in US History at 62 percent.

Upon reviewing the latest scores and growth, Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis applauded the hard work of students, teachers, and school leaders, as well as the Board of Education, over the past year.

“We are proud of the growth in student learning as indicated by our spring 2019 Milestones performance and are particularly pleased to find that we are outpacing the state’s growth in many areas,” stated Davis. “Teachers are truly to credit for this incredible increase. By providing high-quality instruction every day, they made sure that students are learning and growing in Henry County classrooms.”

Davis additionally shared, “Our Board of Education is committed to ensuring all kids are learning at the highest levels in Henry County Schools.  These results are a reflection of the Board of Education and school district’s long-standing focus on students and improving outcomes for all kids.  This would not be possible without the foundation laid by so many dedicated district and school leaders throughout Henry County.  These results are truly about every employee in the district pulling together to make student success happen in all classrooms throughout our county.”

Vaneisa Benjamin, Principal of Fairview Elementary School, where double-digit gains from 2018 to 2019 were realized in all four content areas, also expressed optimism and appreciation for the support and leadership of the Board of Education.

“One way the board supported teachers was through the acquisition of classroom resources,” shared Benjamin.  “Our board and district leadership understand what teachers need to be successful, and the provided resources coupled with the dedication and hard work of our teachers has made all the difference.” 

Board of Education Chairman Josh Hinton noted that he and his colleagues are pleased to see the latest results of the district’s efforts to support the educational growth and achievement of the 9th largest school district in the state.  While the work has been months in the making, the latest figures prove that the district is heading in the right direction.

“Superintendent Davis has done a tremendous job of taking the board’s vision for education in Henry County Schools and turning it into the everyday work of the entire school community,” said Hinton.  “We believe the growth of our schools over last year’s performance suggests we are on the right path.” 

For more information on Henry County Schools, visit www.henry.k12.ga.us.

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(See attachments for tables)

 

The Georgia Milestones assess student learning along four levels of performance.  These performance designations are intended to emphasize the progression of a student’s learning rather than emphasize just a test score.  These categories are:

  • Beginning Learners: Students who do not yet demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at the grade level/course.  Students need substantial support to be prepared for the next grade level/course and to be on track for college and career readiness.
  • Developing Learners: Students who demonstrate partial proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at the grade level/course.  Students need additional academic support to ensure success in the next grade level/course and to be on track for college and career readiness.
  • Proficient Learners: Students who demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at the grade level/course.  Students are prepared for the next grade/course and are on track for college and career readiness.
  • Distinguished Learners: Students who demonstrate advanced proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at the grade level/course.  Students are well prepared for the next grade/course and are well prepared for college and career readiness.