School report card: Danville Independent Schools

Published 10:00 am Friday, November 3, 2023


The Danville Independent School District is reviewing its 2022-2023 School Report Card, which reflects Kentucky Summative Assessment data released by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The new KSA accountability system includes six state indicators that measure school performance:

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• Reading and math results

• Science, social studies and writing results

• English learner progress

• Quality of school climate and safety

• Postsecondary readiness (high school level)

• Graduation rate (high school level)

CLICK HERE to read more about Danville Independent Schools and all other districts throughout Kentucky.

This system also includes a new change indicator, which shows how performance in these areas has changed compared to the previous year.

The accountability system’s overall performance for each district, school and student demographic group combines both current year performance, or “status,” and improvement from the prior year to the current year, or “change.”

Factoring in both status and change, the accountability system uses a color-coded rating system, with red, orange, yellow, green and blue (red the lowest and blue the highest), to rate school and district performance across different areas.

From the data for the Danville Schools, there were many areas of positive growth, and there are also areas that need improvement.

The district saw a reduction in the percentage of students scoring novice (the lowest rating) in reading and math in all schools. The overall index rates in reading and math increased in all schools, as well as science. The percentage of students who scored distinguished in social studies also increased at all schools.

Below is a breakdown of the data by school, and what the district wants to accomplish going forward. Grades PreK-2 do not take the KSA, so Mary G. Hogsett Primary School is not included.

Danville High School

Danville High School’s overall performance level was yellow. It had a green rating on reading and math; yellow rating on science, social studies and combined writing; green on the quality of school climate and safety survey that students took; orange on the graduation rate; and yellow on postsecondary readiness.

The status rating for both reading and math, and science, social studies and writing improved.

“I’m really happy to see us grounded more in our curriculum, mastering the proficiency-based teaching and learning, and usage of proficiency skills, along with teacher clarity,” said DHS Principal Chad Luhman. “Every classroom, when you walk in, has a learning intention and a success criteria for students.”

The performance on the quality of school climate and safety survey increased, as did the postsecondary readiness indicator. The change indicator for the graduation rate reflected that it has been approximately maintained compared to the previous year. Unrelated to the KSA but worth noting is that DHS’s ACT index has also increased by a full point.

Postsecondary readiness has increased but has room for improvement. Luhman said the school has been expanding the pathways through which students can become postsecondary-ready — not just through meeting ACT benchmarks, but also through more Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathways, industry certifications, dual credit and Advanced Placement (AP) coursework, participation in transition programs for students with disabilities or special needs, resume and interview skills, financial literacy, workready or school-to-work programs, and more.

Luhman said that science has been a “tough area,” but he believes the school is getting back on the right track. The school has, for example, had success partnering with Bluegrass Community and Technical College in science curriculum. They have offered an advanced physics course at DHS and will be offering advanced chemistry in the spring.

Writing is also an area where significant effort is being made, particularly through teaching the importance of “claim-evidence-reasoning” in the writing process.

“That approach to writing and formulating claims — presenting evidence and then explaining your reasoning, has really started to kind of grow our writing,” Luhman said.

John W. Bate Middle School

John W. Bate Middle School made a lot of great strides this year. The school’s overall performance was green. It rated green in reading and math as well as science, social studies, and writing. It rated orange on the quality of school climate and safety survey.

The school saw a reduction in the percentage of students scoring novice in all areas. In writing, Bate increased the index by 10 points and cut the percentage of students scoring novice nearly in half. Bate’s social studies index increased by five points. The school also lost its Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) classification it previously had for its population of students with disabilities, showing growth in those students.

“It’s because of dedicated staff,” Principal Michelle Carver said about the progress. “I feel like the teachers have worked very hard to build relationships with students, to refine their curriculum and assessments, to motivate the students to do well, to do their best. I definitely feel like that’s the driving force behind everything — the teachers and staff and those relationships with students.”

One thing that has particularly helped reading and math scores is the use of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), Carver said. This means that students receive core instruction in the classroom, but if they are not performing at their grade level, they either work with a small group in the classroom or are pulled to small groups with interventionists in addition to their classroom instruction, depending on their needs.

Students also have two 50 minute-blocks, instead of just one, dedicated to English/Language Arts instruction. Carver said this has been beneficial as well. And when students arrive at Bate as sixth graders, teachers get right to work on providing writing practices for children throughout the school year.

Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School

Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School’s overall performance was orange. Toliver has a federal TSI classification for its African American and special education student subgroups. Federal classifications are based on the overall school score and performance of subgroups of students. TSI schools are those who have a subgroup performing at or below the bottom 5% of all schools. Toliver will need to include in its Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) how to focus on addressing these gaps.

Toliver rated yellow in reading and math; orange in science, social studies and writing; blue on progress on English language (EL) proficiency, and green on the quality of school climate and safety survey.

Toliver’s performance on reading and math increased. Performance in social studies and writing declined. Progress of EL proficiency made an impressive 31-point jump, and performance on the quality of school climate and safety survey also increased.

“Reading and math have been our focus at Toliver coming out of the pandemic, and making up for any gaps in learning that may have occurred due to time out of school,” said Toliver Principal Danny Goodwin. “We’re intentional with our focus on phonics instruction to ensure that every student can decode words while reading, which will serve them long into the future as the words become more and more difficult. Because of this work, we have seen considerable gains across the board.”

However, he said, scores in reading and math “are still not where we’d like them to be.”

“We have been working in grade level teams to revise our units of study to ensure that we are addressing every grade level standard with intentionality,” he said. “Additionally, we will continue our MTSS to address any grade-level deficiencies.”

One thing Goodwin said is important to note is that the science and social studies tests have changed, and getting students used to the changes has been an adjustment, but also, “we realize that these two content areas have taken a back seat to math and reading over the past few years, and we cannot let that continue.”

“We must carve out time in our schedule to make sure that students have time to truly engage with the content and think about it in a more abstract way,” he said. “To address these two issues, we’re working as teams to identify worthwhile curriculum resources to support this new type of learning and we’re reconsidering how we allocate time in our master schedule so that all students have time to experience a genuine science and social studies curriculum.”

Goodwin said Toliver is also becoming more intentional in how it teaches writing in all grade levels.

“Just as is the case with science and social studies, we’re making sure that we have created time in our schedule so that students can grow in writing across all the disciplines,” he said. “In addition, the district is working to develop a vertical alignment of writing skills so that we know what it looks like to be a writer at the end of each grade level. This will allow us to be intentional in our approach and allow the students to experience success.”

As far as the strides Toliver has made with English language learners (ELL), Goodwin said, “Last year, we shifted our approach to ELL instruction to ensure that students were not only learning the English language, but they were learning content through the English language. We were intentional with developing small groups according to individual needs and we’re happy to see significant growth.”

Looking forward

Reading and math is where the district has put much of its focus, and will be applying some of the methods that have worked with reading and math to the other areas — science, social studies and writing.

The district will also continue its work across schools, building the professional capacity of teachers, and having better support for newly-enrolled students, as well as students who are economically disadvantaged or have adverse childhood experiences.

Coming next week: A look at Boyle County schools.