JMCSS Continues Improvements for Second Year
JACKSON, Tenn. - The commitment of the students and educators of the Jackson-Madison County School System resulted in continued progress on state assessments in 2018-2019. For the second year in a row, JMCSS improved achievement in a majority of grades and subject areas. This comes at the conclusion of the district’s first full year of implementation of the instructional framework, which is used for coaching and supporting teachers, and with Math and English/Language Arts curriculum being implemented in schools. Other notable improvements include a decrease in the percentage of students who were chronically absent from school and an increase in the percentage of seniors who earned recognition as Ready Graduates.
“We are excited for the progress and we look forward to continuing to make gains,” stated Mr. Ray Washington, JMCSS Superintendent. “We know that we have much farther to go to get our district where we want it to be, but acknowledging our gains is very important as we continue to improve our district as a whole.”
The most significant improvements were in Math, where achievement increased in every grade 3rd through 8th and in Algebra 1. The number of schools meeting or exceeding growth expectations in math also increased, rising from 8 to 13 schools. Seven schools received the highest rating possible from the state for academic growth in math, including Alexander Elementary, Jackson Careers and Technology (JCT), Community Montessori, Northeast Middle School, JCM-Early College High, Madison Academic, and South Side High School. Six additional schools improved their standing from the previous school year by meeting or exceeding growth expectations for math in 2018-2019. These schools include Andrew Jackson Elementary, Denmark Elementary, East Elementary, Isaac Lane Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and West Bemis Middle School. These improvements come after a second full year of implementation of the district’s new math curriculum, Eureka Math.
After one year with the district’s new English/Language Arts curriculum, achievement increased in 5 out of 8 tested grade levels. Ten schools met or exceeded growth expectations in literacy: Alexander Elementary, Andrew Jackson Elementary, Isaac Lane Elementary, Pope Elementary, South Elementary, Community Montessori, North Parkway Middle, JCM-Early College High School, Madison Academic, and South Side High School.
A majority of schools zoned in the inner cluster of JMCSS, including 3 of the district’s Priority Schools, met or exceeded overall growth expectations: Alexander Elementary, Andrew Jackson Elementary, Isaac Lane Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, and Jackson Careers and Technology (JCT). Other schools that met or exceeded growth expectations include Community Montessori, Northeast Middle, JCM-Early College High School, Madison Academic, and South Side High School. Community Montessori and Madison Academic will be recognized as Reward Schools for the State of Tennessee for receiving high scores in all accountability areas.
In other accountability areas monitored by the state, the number of students who were chronically absent from school (defined by missing 10% or more of the school year) declined in elementary, middle, and high school grades. This comes after implementation of a strategic plan at all schools to provide support for students who have a track record of missing excessive days. “The district has worked persistently to ensure that students attend school daily. We are extremely proud of the positive trend shown in reducing chronic absenteeism, said Vivian Williams, Chief of Student Support and Improvement. “We will continue to implement our truancy intervention plan and focus on improvement in this area.”
Although showing many signs of progress, the district is still in need of improvement in order to meet expectations. In order to accomplish this goal, significant investments have been made in to teacher training and support, and curriculum implementation. The 2019-2020 school year will be the first year with aligned curriculum in Math, English/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Implementation of this strategic plan is fundamental to ensuring a more successful future for the district.
Dr. Jared Myracle, Chief Academic Officer for JMCSS described the progress as signs of the ongoing process in place. “The gains we are seeing are very encouraging. After two years with our new math curriculum, we would expect to see the types of gains that took place. The first two years of our plan have really focused on building trust in what we are asking teachers and principals to do and improving the most vital components of our district’s strategic plan. We are still in the early stages of consolidating these new improvements and really starting to focus on building the capacity of our district.”