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Charleston Schools Annual Report To The Public

The Charleston School District’s Annual Report to the Public was held on October 21, 2013. Mr. Jeff Stubblefield, Superintendent, and Mrs. Susan Brown, Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs, presented the district’s annual report:

The district’s enrollment on October 1, 2013 was 868 students with enrollment down by two students from last year. There are 39 Pre-K students in the First Step program. Currently, the largest class on campus is Kindergarten with 78 students enrolled. The smallest class is 5th Grade with 53 students. The district has seen a 6.30% increase of low socio-economic students in the past five years. Currently, 45% of students enrolled are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Charleston graduated 53 students in 2013. The Class of 2013 is one of the smallest graduating classes. Due to increased enrollment numbers in the Kindergarten and 2nd grade, an additional certified teacher was employed this year.

Average math scores for grades 3 through 6 were 88% proficient or advanced compared to the state average of 78.5%. Literacy scores for grades 3 through 6 were 86.5% proficient or advanced compared to the state 80.5%. Average math scores for grades 7, 8, and end-of-course Algebra I and Geometry were 81.0% proficient or advanced compared to the state average of 71.25%. Charleston’s highest scores in math this year were in 4th grade with a 98% passing rate. 100 % of Algebra I students passed the end-of-course exam. The highest scores in literacy were 92% in 5th grade and 91% in 4th grade.

The Class of 2013 scored above the state average in all areas on the ACT (American College Test) which is an entrance exam for college and universities. 87.2% members of the Class of 2013 took the ACT. The composite average score for Charleston students was 21.0 compared to the state average of 20.2 and the national average of 20.9. For the past two summers, the district has provided an ACT Prep class during for students taking the ACT. Administrators and teachers believe that ACT Prep has been very successful with students working hard to increase their test scores.

This year’s theme at the Charleston School District is “putting technology into the hands of students.” The high school started a one-to-one initiative this year by purchasing 280 Chromebook laptops for students in grades 9-12. During parent-teacher conferences, each student had the opportunity to receive a Chromebook to be used in their classrooms and take home at night. The district is considering the possibility of downloading some subject textbooks onto the laptops. The district was approved for start-up funding this year in the amount of $63,414 for a Digital Communications program at the high school, in which an iMac Lab has been purchased. Two mobile Chromebook labs have also been added to the middle school in addition to the two existing computer labs. IPADS have been purchased for 2nd grade classrooms and an additional computer lab has been added at the elementary school to start teaching keyboarding. Mrs. Brown said, “Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and changing the way students learn. By providing the latest technology equipment and software, we ensure that teachers have the resources necessary to prepare students with the skills that are required to be successful in the world in which we live.” Putting more technology into the hands of young learners improves students’ academic performance with the district spending approximately $138,000 per year on technology supplies, software, and equipment, Brown added.

According to the College Board, Advanced Placement exams with a score of 3, 4, or 5 qualify for college credit for the course. During the 2012-13 year, 51.7% of students who took AP Exams scored a 3 or better. There has also been an increase in student AP course participation with 48 students currently taking a concurrent college course on campus. Students who challenge themselves by taking AP courses have the opportunity to graduate high school with 18 hours of college credit.

Charleston Benchmark and End of Course Scores

Percentage of Advanced and Proficient

Math

District

State

3rd

86

86

4th

98

82

5th

83

70

6th

85

76

7th

84

70

8th

72

66

Algebra I

100

77

Geometry

68

72

Literacy

District

State

3rd

84

80

4th

91

85

5th

92

84

6th

78

73

7th

87

77

8th

78

78

11th

76

70

Mrs. Brown also reported that Charleston along with about 90% of all Arkansas Public Schools have a preliminary accountability rating status of “In Needs Improvement” of which is determined by a rating system called Annual Measurable Outcomes. “With students testing at or above state averages in almost every grade level, we are extremely proud of our students’ test scores of which are a reflection of students and teachers who work very hard every day,” Mrs. Brown said. It’s important to remember that it isn’t easy to achieve these test results; Charleston students are among the top scoring students in the state, Brown added. Common Core Standards are being implemented at Charleston as well as all Arkansas Public Schools with the goal to increase student achievement. The district will continue to provide educational supplies, technology, and professional development to promote and ensure success and provide teachers and students with the resources that are needed for Charleston students to reach their academic goals.

The Charleston School District also receives Federal funds through the Title I program. The district spends these funds on a Title I Reading Teacher/Reading Recovery Teacher, .33 FTE Classroom Teacher, .20 FTE Federal Coordinator, and professional development. Federal funds will also continue to support a grade level reading book room, purchase common core grade level books, technology, after-school tutoring, and welfare students.

Superintendent Jeff Stubblefield reported that Pepsi Funds are receipted to the Building Fund (3001). The insured value of district facilities is approximately $40 million. Planned maintenance projects include replacing the elementary/middle school cafeteria HVAC and replacing the roof on the technical building with both projects funded approximately by 59% State Partnership Funds. The beginning teachers’ base salary is $35,450 with increments of $637 per year up to 28 years of experience. Payroll and benefits cost approximately $440,000 per month. Charleston’s millage rate is 37.5 mills, approved several years ago by district residents (25 M&O Mills, 12.5 Debit Service). Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, Teacher Excellence and Support System will be implemented to evaluate teacher performance. Due to additional state funding recently approved in the 2013 Arkansas Special Session, Arkansas Public School Employees will be responsible for a 10% health insurance premium increase rather than the 48% increase that was originally presented. Requirements for teachers’ Professional Development were also reduced in the Special Session. No students are currently being served by the Franklin County Learning Center.

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