York County School Board Newsletter

YCSD School Board Notes - September 2015


On behalf of the entire School Board, I am writing to share updates of the work that took place during the opening days of the new school year. I hope the start of the school year has been positive and productive for your family. Thank you to all our faculty and staff for the hard work that went into preparing for the opening of this school year!

Academic Matters

The School Board is pleased to report that all 19 YCSD schools will be fully accredited, based on results from the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in four core academic areas (English, math, history and science) from the 2014-15 school year.

Stephanie Guy, Ed.D., the division’s chief academic officer, and members of the instructional leadership team provided the Board with details on each school’s performance towards achieving objectives identified in goal one of the division’s long-term Strategic Plan, students will consistently demonstrate growth and excellence in the skills and knowledge needed to be productive citizens. Below are some of the highlights from the presentation.

State & Federal Annual Measureable Objectives (AMO)

For the first time in three years - all five high schools met all 27 federal objectives! Additionally, all elementary schools met every AMO in reading and math, while three of four middle schools missed only one federal target. While we commend our schools’ accreditation status, the gains made by students, demonstrating their mastery of skills, is most impressive.

This year:

  • Seven of 10 elementary have averages in the 90s for both English and math;
  • Every middle school demonstrated growth in math, with QLMS improving by 9 percentage points;
  • Four high schools made double digit gains in Algebra I, with BHS improving overall math performance by 10 percentage points.
  • 11 of 19 YCSD schools saw double digit growth for students with disabilities in English, and
  • 12 of 19 YCSD schools saw double digit growth for students with disabilities in math.

What’s even more notable than the number of schools making gains for students with disabilities is the size of these gains.

  • In reading, 5 schools (SES, TES, WMES, YES & THS) demonstrated gains of more than 20 percentage points, while two additional schools (BMES & YRA) demonstrated gains of 50 percentage points or more.
  • In math, 3 schools (DES, THS & YHS) had gains of more than 20 percentage points, 3 additional schools (GBES, SES, & WMES) had gains of more than 30 percentage points and one school, BMES, demonstrated a gain of 45 percentage points.

These are just a few of the examples shared with the Board, and we want to commend the hard work of our staff and students. We know our students’ success would not be possible without the dedicated teachers, administrators, staff and supportive families.

Third Grade Reading

The division’s Strategic Plan has also set annual benchmarks for improving the percentage of third grade students reading at or above grade level, with the objective of reaching 90% by FY17. In FY14, none of the elementary schools met the FY14 target of 82.5%. However, this past year, eight schools met the benchmark of 85%! We are very excited about the progress our schools are making in grade 3 reading, and we look forward to our continued work toward this year’s target of 87.5%.

Advanced Studies Diplomas

Two out of three members of the Class of 2015 earned Advanced Studies diplomas. Though we have improved the number of advanced diplomas awarded this school year, our leadership team recognizes additional work is needed to meet the FY17 objective of 69% of graduates earning Advanced Studies diplomas.

Operations Matters

Superintendent Victor Shandor, Ed.D., provided the School Board with a report on summer work and the preparation for the opening of the school year. From cleaning more than 1.7 million square feet to planning and conducting professional development for teachers and staff, the summer months flew by. All the hard work paid off when we welcomed 12,400 students on the first day of school, including more than 800 members of the Class of 2028. We did experience some of the typical transportation delays that can be expected at the start of the school year, especially as buses travel through construction zones. Still, the 2015-16 school year is off to a productive start.

Human Resources Matters

Jim Carroll, Ed.D., the division’s chief human resources officer, provided an update on current vacancies throughout the division. The division was able to start the school year with 99% of all positions filled. Of the 24 current job openings, only two are for licensed teaching positions; a high school classroom teacher for technology education and an elementary library media specialist position. Opportunities still remain for para-educator and bus driver positions.

High School Start Times

The Board reopened discussion regarding later start times for high schools. The Board had previously agreed to table discussions while searching for our new superintendent.

All board members present were in agreement that additional research and study should take place on this topic. Dr. Shandor shared that he has spoken with the superintendent in Fairfax County, where adjusted school start times were just implemented this year. The Board believes that, when considering and implementing change, it is important to take the time necessary to involve the community in the decision-making process in order to make the right choices for students.

 

Thank you for your continued support of our schools, our staff and our students. Our next School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, September 28, at York Hall. I look forward to additional opportunities to share important information regarding our schools.

 

Mark Medford
School Board Chair
On Behalf of the York County School Board


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