Kelly E. Middleton
Getting to Know Our New Newport Schools….
As part of the University of Louisville; ABRI (Academic and Behavioral Response to Intervention) has been working in Newport Schools for years. ABRI is an outside group that “… is structured to provide state-wide access to support with the emphasis on creating an infrastructure toward sustainability and capacity building within schools and educational cooperatives.” Part of their goal is the evaluation of social/academic outcomes for all students in Kentucky. Last month, in a meeting with our leaders, this group used the term, “The New Newport Schools” to describe our district’s emerging transformation. Research proves that substantial change in an organization generally takes 3-5 years; therefore, it is noteworthy that in the past 1.7 years, “The New Newport Schools” have made advances in the following areas:
- Every Student at Newport High School has a Personal Learning Device
Middle School students will receive iPads next year, which will increase our 1:1 student program to include grades 7 through 12. Newport will be leading the way in this area of technology over the next few years and is currently one of only 20 districts in the State of Kentucky to be implementing the 1:1 program, in conjunction with Apple.
The High School, Middle School, and District scores increased last year; unfortunately, scores at the Intermediate School decreased…and – consequently – the overall District score was affected.This guided us to implement a series of targeted changes at the Intermediate School and we are predicting a nice gain this year when the September scores are released. All indications point to better KPREP scores district-wide in all areas this year. (KPREP Scores will be presented at the September or October 2014 School Board Meeting.)
- College and Career Readiness
In the past two years, there has been a significant increase in preparing our high school students for college and careers. In July of 2013, the District hired Ms. Rachel White, who is a College and Career Readiness Coordinator. As a subject-matter expert, Ms. White monitors assessment data; provides instructional strategies for teachers; and counsels students on college and career options/goals. The CCR coordinator and classroom teachers are providing targeted intervention to students who are not meeting benchmark on CCR assessments. These assessments include: ACT Explore, ACT Plan, ACT, and Kentucky Occupational Skill Standards Assessment. As of March 2014, NHS has seen significant growth in College Readiness scores. In August 2013, the class of 2014 showed that less than 7% of the class was college ready; however, as a result of the efforts described above, the class of 2014 now boasts college readiness of 28%. This percentage is expected to increase dramatically when results of the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment results are received in April 2014. The class of 2015 currently shows a college readiness score of 26% which puts them a year ahead of our 2014 class. A preliminary ACT score of 17.8 is our highest composite since entering into accountability.
- Home Visits to Get to Know Our Students
The District implementation of a summer program to have teachers visit students’ homes, resulted in teachers gaining a better understanding and empathy for their students.
For the second year, students transitioning to a grade-level in another school are given a day in which they visit their new school and become familiar in their new surroundings. This is a proven method to reduce anxiety and to help students acclimate to their new educational setting.
- Improved Discipline throughout District
Discipline referrals, expulsions, and ABRI reports prove that more stringent disciplinary procedures implemented have resulted in a more structured school environment.
- Newport is No Longer Labeled a Dropout Factory
Newport is averaging approximately two (2) dropouts each year. For the first time in five years, our dropout rate is below 5%. Our 2011-2012 school year ended with a dropout rate of 3.6%. This rate is significantly less than the 5.2% reported by the previous year’s administration or the 6.2% rate reported in 2009-10.
With the use of Facebook; Twitter; a 24-hour Response Rule; the District school year calendar; articles in the East Row’s newsletter; The Voice; in-person dialogue at community access points via Conversations with Kelly, etc. have all helped the District to reach out and connect with our parents, students, and community.
- Selling Buildings and Consolidating Resources to Help Conserve Resources
Major facility improvements to all schools will be completed in the next two years.
- Finances are Now Back in Great Shape
Over 3.5 million dollars is currently in our general fund. Newport has not taken the 4% tax increase in the past two years, and – because of our financial condition at this time – we do not foresee the board taking the 4% next year.
- MAP Scores Show Growth/ Improved Accountability
MAP data is reported three (3) different times at School Board Meetings. Our principals will report the Spring MAP Data at the April School Board Meeting (Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – 7 pm, Newport Middle School Library).
- The Newport Independent School District and Newport High School Gained Back their Capacity Status after our School Improvement Audit
In March 2013, a Diagnostic Review was conducted. This report, which covered a two (2) year time-span, only included five (5) months under our current leadership; however, in consideration of the data and evidence presented in the current administration’s section of the review, KDE and AdvancedED granted capacity back to the District and the High School in a vote of confidence for creating a sustainable culture of change.
- Newport Independent Schools Revitalized the Theatre Program
A full-time Drama teacher has been hired and two musicals have been produced (Yes Virginia; and The Grinch) and a spring presentation of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown will take place this April.
If anyone would like to walk the halls of our schools to gain a first-hand experience of all of the good things happening in our schools, please call my office at 859-292-3001, and we will arrange a tour. We extend an invitation to all interested parties to join us at one of our monthly Board work sessions to discuss any issues or concerns. (Please call 859-292-3001 to find out when the next work session is scheduled.)
Feel free to contact me anytime!
Facebook – Kelly Middleton
Twitter – Kellsinfotweets
Office Phone – 859-292-3004
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org/28/2014