The Clinton County High School held it’s first annual Academic Showcase last Thursday, November 15, 2012, seeing a host of parents and members of the public attending.
The showcase was designed to allow the public to view projects and curriculum students have been working on since the beginning of school.
Clinton County High School Principal Sheldon Harlan said the event had a great turnout for the first time.
“It was about all subjects. I was pleased with the people we had out. I heard a lot of positive comments. Several of the parents said they enjoyed coming,” Harlan said. “I did have several of the magistrates and city council members come out. I called them and invited them, so I was pleased they came out.”
Some of the goals for the showcase include increasing parent participation at Clinton County High School, to create a more positive environment for parents, to develop a more positive atmosphere for Clinton County students and to increase student pride and student ownership at the high school.
“The kids were proud. It was neat to see them show the public what they have been working on,” Harlan said. “We had some pretty neat stuff. From the bridges they built to the tabletop displays they made out of fruit … it was neat.”
Harlan said the idea for the showcase came from the state, indicating each school needs to have community involvement within the year.
“To help that part of our score, that’s actually what pushed us in that direction,” Harlan said. “We’ve always had open houses and things like that, but this was an idea that some of the staff had in order to bring the community in. We have good things going on here and we have good test scores, let’s brag a little by having a showcase.”
The event, unlike many other events at the high school that pertain to athletics, was strictly academic based.
“It was a totally academic showcase for the students to demonstrate what they have been doing,” Harlan said. “When the kids and their parents are at the school and they are having fun, that’s the best thing. It’s completely positive … nothing negative. We need more of that.”
Some of the presentations included a drill performed by the JROTC, which was the same performance they do in competitions across the state.
Others included powerpoint presentations, a display of edible arrangements, extraction of DNA, communication skills, dance performances and speeches.
“The kids did their Voice of Democracy Speeches and they were good. I enjoyed listening to them,” Harlan said. “When you have people the kids don’t really know who see the work they’ve done, it gives them a boost. There may be a kid who is thinking about dropping out because they don’t have the support they need. It’s a good pat on the back and it does wonders for them.”
Harlan said all of the staff was represented by at least one student.
Gina Poore, Assessment and Curriculiam Coordinator, said there were 184 people who signed the sign-in sheet, which included students names as well.
“The staff was excited enough that they have been asking if we can have another one in the spring,” Harlan said. “It was our first one, so there is always room for improvement. The staff met Monday afternoon and discussed the pros and cons and try to keep making it bigger.”
Recently, Harlan learned that his school was ranked in the 79th percentile, meaning Clinton County ranked higher than 79 percent of schools in Kentucky pertaining to academics.
Last year, the students were graded on achievement, gap, growth, college and career readiness and graduation rate.
Harlan explained, each of those categories were worth 20 percent of the final score through the Kentucky Education Department.
The achievement part of the assessment consists of the end-of-course assessments. The gap score consists of how well students who have a disadvantage do within the system.
“Students who have a disability or have free or reduced lunches are scored to see how they do overall,” Harlan said. “That makes up the gap score.”
With the college and career readiness and the graduation rate scores, students are tested on how ready for the real world or for college they are.
“Those categories are designed to show how much each student grows from the time they are sophomores until they take the ACT as a junior,” Harlan said. “So we get graded not only on how well they do, but how well they improve.”
According to Harlan, the college and career readiness score is based on what benchmarks the students reach on the ACT.
Each student is tested on math, reading and English and there are minimum scores set by the state in order to set up a baseline.
“You have to meet these benchmarks to be ready for college,” Harlan said. “That’s why they set the bar. If students don’t meet the benchmark, there are other ways they can meet that requirement. They can take courses at the vocational school and if they pass certain exams there, they will be considered career ready.”
After all of those five categories are graded, Clinton County’s score was 60.9, which places the school above 79 percent of all other high schools in the state.
“I think overall, we ranked 48th,” Harlan said. “Out of 220 schools, I was really proud of the work the teachers did. Some specific areas we did well in were Algebra II, English II and the On Demand Writing.”
Harlan said the school was close to average throughout the state on other areas, but in three categories, Clinton County was well above average, which pushed the score up.
“The other thing we did really well on was college and career readiness,” Harlan said. “The commissioner sent out an e-mail that notified us of his blog and he recognized the top 10 schools in the state that had the highest college and career readiness scores as well as the top 10 schools that had improved the most. We were the second most improved high school in the state. We jumped up 38.8 percent from the previous year.”
Harlan said the improvements they have made directly stems from an intervention program they have started within the school.
This program puts those students together who have similar problems, which allows the teachers to focus on what they need in order to improve their test scores and better prepare them for college and their career.
“It’s very targeted,” Harlan said. “We’ve been doing this for three or four years.”
The program was reported to KED and it has been so successful within the high school that the state department wants to use Clinton County as a model school for the program statewide.
“They are confident enough that they are going to recommend to other schools to come and view our program,” Harlan said. “Our teachers are working hard and that’s just it … it’s the teachers and the kids. It’s not me. All I can do as a leader is to tell them to do what they can and not to give up on the kids and to keep working hard.”
One project put on by Clinton County High School students Thursday night, was the differences between Coke and Pepsi. Above, Travis Garmon and Ethan Cook, right, pour the drinks into unmarked cups for their experiment.