ADE tweets congrats to MHS

"Monticello High School's Weighted Achievement scores jumped by 10.15 points," exclaimed the Arkansas Department of Education in a tweet. "In addition to ensuring students received needed help and support, the school focused on improving writing and literacy. Way to go Monticello!"

As reported earlier, MHS jumped from a D grade for the 2017-18 school year to a B grade for the 2018-19 school year. The jump was in large part due to the school looking at the numbers and data and working to improve on what would have the biggest punch in terms of improving the overall grade. 

The schools biggest jump was in the ESSA score. Which includes the three categories the school improved in the most attendance, science achievement and ACT readiness. 

According to Principal Susan White and Assistant Principal Jonathan Gosdin, catching students who are struggling early is key to improving education for the students and to bringing up the grade. 

Attendance being a large key, in not only the state score, but also with the trickledown effect that happens with good attendance. MHS worked hard and raised its attendance score from a 72.5% of students meeting the regular attendance requirements to 78% meeting the requirements. 

To accomplish this the school focused on early intervention. Talking to students and parents when the student was getting close to the maximum number of days.

"Regardless of the reason a student is absent," said White, "you can't learn if you aren't in the classroom getting instruction."

And you can see it in the scores throughout the grading system. With attendance rates up, other categories showed improvement. 

The grade is not determined solely on test scores. There are several other categories the school is scored on that goes in to calculating the grade that includes weighted achievement scores, growth, graduation rates and school quality and student success. 

Absenteeism can be a big source of losing points for the state grade, but also for losing ground in knowledge and education for the student. 

MHS has focused on getting students involved in improving their school and their educations. By keeping a close eye on student’s attendance and talking to those students and explaining the seriousness of attending school for them and for the school, the administration is seeing improvements in attendance rates and as a result, improvements throughout the key areas the state looks at while grading the school. 

Some of the other areas the school is graded on in the SQSS category are reading at grade level, science achievement, growth in science, on time credits, grade point average of a 2.8 or higher, ACT composite score of 19 or higher for eleventh graders, ACT readiness benchmark, AP concurrent credits, Computer science and community service.

Keeping a close eye on the students education plans and ensuring they are on time to graduate is another way the staff at MHS is working with the students, and as a bonus, helping to improve their score since students having on time credits is also included in the score that determines the school grade.

By moving summer school to earlier in the school year, the school has also been able to improve their graduation rates and keep at risk kids in school to get them to graduation, according to White. 

These are only a few of the areas the school has worked to improve. White and Gosdin are constantly looking at the data and coming up with ways to move the number in the right direction by giving students what they need to succeed in high school and beyond. 

By constantly monitoring the data and working together to reach a common goal, White and Gosdin, along with the rest of the staff at MHS, are working to provide the best education possible for the students of MHS, to reach the students in need of intervention early on and to continue to show improvement to maintain good grades through the state scoring system.

And the Arkansas Department of Education has noticed by recognizing their hard work with a tweet to let the rest of Arkansas know about the good things happening at MHS.

The Advance-Monticellonian

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