by S. Purdom
Murray Independent School District Students Continue to Raise the Bar: Rank Third in State Testing
Murray, Ky., Oct 3rd ------ The Murray Independent School District continues its tradition of excellence scoring in the top, ranking third in the state in the 99th state percentile in the newly released 2014 state assessment results.
In support of Senate Bill One’s push for all students to be college and career ready, Murray Elementary (K-5) students ranked third in the state at 81.5, while this score was bolstered by MES third grade score of 91.7, the highest elementary score in the state, out of 720 elementary schools. Murray Middle (6-8) students accomplished a twelfth place status out of 329 middle schools and MHS students are ranked ninth in the state among Kentucky's 228 high schools.
Along with these accomplishments, MISD as well as their district’s respective schools (MES, MMS and MHS) achieved distinguished/progressing classifications among their stellar rankings in year three of the new state testing system. All schools were awarded a School of Distinction title and the district was recognized as a District of Distinction.
MISD follows Anchorage Independent and Fort Thomas Independent as the state's leading districts. MISD ranks second in the state among K-12 districts.
Bob Rogers, MISD superintendent, said he is certainly thrilled to see that the combined efforts of MISD students, teachers, staff, parents, and community produced such an awesome result. “For our district to have the third highest score in the state is an example of what can be accomplished with a heck of a lot of hard work by everyone associated with our Murray Independent School District. This tradition and pride was established many years ago by a lot of people who attended our schools and we try really hard each day to build on that foundation.”
Teresa Speed, MHS principal, said she is excited MHS met their 98 percent goal. “Next year’s goal is to achieve the 99 percentile,” she said. “Everyone works hard each day to focus on the main thing: Doing our best. We are blessed to have a community who embraces our students each day, as well. We will continue to strive to uphold our tradition of excellence.”
“We are very proud of our Murray Elementary team of students, parents/families, teachers, all staff members, district school board, administrators, and community,” said Denise Whitaker, MES principal. “Our focus is on helping, challenging, and loving each child, every day; everyone is passionate about children and learning! The state assessment is just one indicator of how working as a team results in success! “
While Murray Middle School sixth and eighth grade students scored a 78.9 distinction score, fourth and fifth grade students’ increased their composite from 77.4 to 80.8.
Lou Carter, MMS principal, who agrees with the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ indicated goal setting, hard work, and quality instruction reaped amazing benefits for every student at Murray Middle School. “Students, teachers, and staff were focused and intentional with learning targets across all five grade levels. I am so excited to see the benefits of all efforts! Students made significant gains and we met our annual measurable objectives at all grade levels, and in the district. I want to thank our students, teachers, staff, volunteers, parents, and community for the dedication given to academic excellence each and every day. Additionally, I think it takes an awesome group working together to achieve the quality status that our school district has established through tradition, pride, and excellence. I am truly blessed to be a part of this extraordinary tradition.”
Angie Murdock, MISD curriculum and instruction supervisor, stood in awe at first glance of scores for just a moment and then snapped right back in to the MISD focus, ‘keeping our eyes on our students, staff, parents and community.’
“Our state and nation continue to raise the bar yearly: demanding a deeper understanding and creative usage modes of rigorous standards, communications, technologies, relationships, and skills and concepts that all students need to succeed independently, in a very global society,” she explained. “Our teachers continue to work very hard to ensure every student is understood individually and everyone works hard to make all learning connections real, tangible, with instructive and specific feedback.”
Being a second generation MHS alumnus, Murdock also realizes that “we (MISD) would not be where we are today, if not for all the footsteps of those who walked the halls before us.” Tradition can’t be bought, replicated, or replaced. It merits honor and respect. For that, I am thankful.”
The overall assessment results that recognize MISD students are performing at a Distinguished/Progressing level are based on the state’s Next Generation Classification rubric that breaks down the categories of performance into needs improvement, proficient, distinguished and distinction. The new results of the Kentucky tests are more closely aligned to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the nation’s report card.
This national assessment measures student success and proficiency at a much higher level than most state tests have in the past. (Being proficient on NAEP and the new K-PREP is similar to getting a B or B+ and being advanced/distinguished is similar to an A).
The cut-off scores to determine assessment percentiles and classification are outlined in the following Next Generation Classification.
Overall Score Needed in 2014 to Reach Expected Classification Levels and Reward labels
Proficient Distinguished Distinction
Elementary 69.4 75.1 77.9
Middle 66.8 71.9 73.5
High 70.1 75.5 77.5
District 67.5 71.9 73.7
(Cut-off Scores listed above were used to determine percentiles and classification)
A snapshot of this year’s classifications and state percentile is as follows:
State Percentile Classification Rewards/Assistance Category
MES (grade 3)( 91.7) 99% Distinguished/Progressing School of Distinction
MMS grades 4-5 (80.8) 99% Distinguished/Progressing School of Distinction
MMS grades 6-8 (78.9) 98% Distinguished/Progressing School of Distinction
MHS grades 9-12 (82.9) 98% Distinguished/Progressing School of Distinction
MISD grades 3-12 (81.1) 99% Distinguished/Progressing District of Distinction
As the MISD progresses upwards, an MES teacher said MES is extremely happy for the children. “Our school truly embraces the idea of creating an environment in which every child can reach their fullest potential.”