FAIRBORN — The Fairborn City School District is aiming to raise its state test scores. Superintendent Mark North and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sue Brackenhoff discussed the district’s strategies for accomplishing that mission at the Jan. 11 school board meeting.
“Our (test) scores are not good,” North said. “We do not score well academically and we have a lot of students individuals who do very well, but as a district when you look at our scores, they’re not acceptable. We can change that and there’s a lot of things we’ve been talking about for some time now and some things we’re starting to implement.”
He highlighted the importance of regular communication with parents, the possibility of offering an ACT preparation course for high school students and implementing consistency among the district.
North pointed out that starting this semester, FCS will communicate with parents on a weekly basis. Parents throughout district received a letter conveying information about an app they can download that allows them to check their child’s grades.
“Every week, your child’s grades will be updated,” North said. “When you know the parents are informed, particularly weekly, on where their children are with their grades there’s going to be better communication and there’s going to be improvement.”
Preparing students for college
North said that traditionally students within the district have not performed well on the ACT test. However, district officials are pushing for a solution.
“Part of that is because there’s a knack to taking the ACT,” he said, highlighting the possibility of offering an ACT preparation course starting next year at Fairborn High School. “We’re not 100 percent sure that we’re going to have this implemented, but we think we’re in pretty good position to implement the class.”
He has observed students gain multiple points on their score after taking an ACT preparation course, which he said can make a difference when it comes to being accepted into college and receiving scholarship money.
Consistency among the district
North highlighted that upon gaining consistency among the district concerning pacing and content within grade levels, state test scores will increase.
“In every first grade class, we’re teaching the same content. No matter what [classes] the student may be in, we’re all working from the same content and pacing guide,” he said. “That transfers to students when they’re in second grade when we’re doing the same thing, then to third grade and fourth grade. We’ve not been doing that, so you can imagine that by the time students get to high school, the kids are all over the place. We’ve got to line content up in every grade and we’re going to start working on that.”
However, FCS officials are also conversing about implementing consistency in other areas as well, such as standards on homework, extra credit, late work, re-testing and grading.
“One sixth grade student shouldn’t come home and have an hour and a half of homework, then another sixth grade student not have any homework,” North said. “How much homework and how we assign homework and assess homework should look the same in every grade.”
Meanwhile, Brackenhoff pointed out that FCS officials have been attending curriculum meetings in recent weeks to establish definition in each area as well as foundational statements to take back to staff members.
“This consistency in instructional practices in day-to-day things we haven’t paid a lot of attention to, we believe can really propel us when it comes to our academic achievements,” Brackenhoff said.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.