Vidrine reports city schools just short of B grade, but low scores prompt questions

Superintendent Dr. Brent Vidrine said Monroe City Schools have improved but will be a hair short of being ranked as a “B” school system this year. However, even as he spoke, members of the district’s curriculum committee questioned why student performance scores have declined again for the third time.

Dr. Vidrine said the district’s complete report card, school by school, won’t be released until November 5, but his analysis of advance data indicates that the district was very close to receiving a B performance Score.

However, members of the committee and audience guests were concerned that state testing results showed that a majority of students on Monroe’s Southside were below basic in their academic performance.

Overall the district’s strongest areas are: English and Math in both elementary and high schools; and English in Junior High Schools. It’s weakest areas are science and social studies in all schools.

When reviewed separately, the report showed schools located on Monroe’s Southside performed poorly in nearly every testing area:

While only 17 percent of Neville students scored below basic in English 1, the Southside high schools had a larger percentage of below basic students: 40 percent at Wossman and 54 percent at Carroll.

Neville English II students only had 25% below basic, while Wossman had 35 percent and Carroll had 68 percent.

In Alegra I, Neville High School had 29% of its students below basic, but Wossman had 57 percent below basic and Carroll had 70% below basic.

In Geometry, Neville had 25% percent below basic. Wossman had 57% below basic and Carroll had 62% below basic.

In U.S. History, Neville had 32% of students to score below basic. Wossman had 65% of its students score below basic and 83% percent of Carroll students scored below basic.

In Biology, 38% of Neville students scored below basic. Wossman students scored 60% below basic and Carroll students scored 77% below basic.

Similar results were posted by all Southside Elementary and Jr. High Schools.

Tuesday night, former Board members Nerissa Bryant and Vickie Krutzer asked why some elementary schools have 1/20 pupil-teacher ratios, but still post low scores repeatedly every year. There were answers given by the superintendent.

Questions were raised from the audience concerning the effectiveness of after school tutorial programs.

Representative Pat Moore said she noticed that many teachers in the afterschool program are drained after a day of dealing with students.

“The pay was good, they tried to, but when you been working with those kids all day, you are drained,” said Moore. She suggested using a fresh set of teachers for afterschool programs.
Dr. Vidrine said he has reservations about the effectiveness of keeping students at school from sunup to sundown.

Curriculum Committee Chairperson, Betty Cooper said the committee will review the reports in depth at later sessions in search of a path for improvements.

Krutzer said while the Superintendent emphasized a performance grade bump for the district, she was concerned about the performance of students academically rather than its performance grade which includes  elements other than academic scores.

Audience participants touched on a variety of problem areas and made suggestions, but all noted that a different approach might be needed to help Monroe’s failing schools.

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