We celebrated during the last couple of days before fall break at Grayson County High School. That’s when we received word that our students had achieved a Distinguished rating in the Kentucky Department of Education’s school accountability program. It’s the first time in school history that we have received this important distinction.
A distinguished rating means that we’re in the 94th percentile of all public high schools in the state. In layman’s terms, that means our students scored higher than 94 percent of all Kentucky public high school students. FA school’s accountability index is based on three components; student performance on standardized and end-of-course tests, the number of students that are career and college ready, and graduation rate.
I couldn’t be more proud of our students and our teachers, and I hope you are, too.
Our students are consistently performing above the state average in many significant ways. For example, in the critical areas of reading and mathematics – key indicators of future success in school and beyond – the percentage of our students scoring proficient or distinguished (the top two categories) on their combined reading and mathematics scores was almost 12 points above the state average. Our overall accountability score of 76.5 was well above the state average of 68. To put this in a slightly different perspective, in two key measurements, our county lags behind the rest of the state. About 76 percent of our citizens hold a high school diploma, and fewer than 10 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Both are significantly below the state average. So, our kids are really stepping up and performing.
Another key measurement in Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning accountability system is preparing students to be career and/or college ready. We’ve succeeded there, too. Last year, we had 173 seniors who achieved career and college ready status and we’re working hard to improve that even more this year. That means if they’re going to college, they are ready academically for college work without taking remedial courses, which cost money but earn no college credit. And, if they’re going directly to work, that means they’ve shown they have the skills to go right to work and succeed. We take this very seriously at GCHS because we all believe a big part of our job is to prepare the young people of Grayson County to go out into the world and be productive citizens.
So, what does it mean to you as citizens of this community who care about how we educate out young people? It means the future looks brighter for out community. It can be said that education is the rising tide that lifts all boats. The better educated our population is, the more we’ll be able to attract higher skilled, higher wage jobs in the future. Any economic development professional will tell you that one of the first things companies look for when relocating to a new community is the quality of its schools. At GCHS, we strongly believe that we are doing our part in that important equation.