Paducah Sun, June 21, 2016
Tilghman grads add to progress
BY GENEVIEVE POSTLETHWAIT
The acronym "ATB" may not mean much to most, but in Paducah Public Schools it means "all-time-best," and it's something schools, teachers and students celebrate and take seriously.
This year Paducah Tilghman's graduating class achieved several ATBs, including its highest-ever college-or-career-readiness rate and highest ever college scholarship award total.
"We have an all-time-best here of 77 percent of students who are college or career ready," Assistant Superintendent Will Black told school board members at their Monday night meeting. "Out of those, almost 70 percent are college-ready."
The percentage of Tilghman graduates who are ready to step into college, the workforce or both has increased steadily the past five years, Black explained, rising from 35 percent in 2011 to this year's 77 percent. The school's college-ready rate has also steadily increased from 35 percent in 2011 to this year's 69 percent.
That ATB could inch even higher by month's end once the last of this year's graduating class finishes summer school.
This year's graduating class was also offered over $11 million in college scholarships, nearly double last year's total, and its students will be attending 39 colleges and universities in 20 states, Black told board members.
"It's been an exciting year," Black said. "I want to congratulate Tilghman again for a lot of hard work and thoughtful interventions. I think this is a testament to what you can do when you have a group of people using data to understand what kids need, building relationships with kids, and prioritizing the needs of each and every student."
Monday night board members also approved a new student-teaching partnership between Murray State University and two Paducah schools, as well as the annual evaluation of Superintendent Donald Shively.
Beginning this fall, the best of the best in MSU's College of Education senior class will have a chance at enhanced student-learning experiences at Clark Elementary and Paducah Middle.
"Through this partnership, we will have -- by application -- the best (education) students of Murray's senior class for a year instead of just a semester of student-teaching," Clark Principal Steve Ybarzabal explained to board members before their vote. "This will allow student teachers to see what it's like to open a classroom in the fall, what it's like to close one in the spring, and everything in between. I truly think it's a great situation for us, and it's a great situation for those college students at Murray State."
Through the new program, accepted MSU students will get a more complete, hands-on student-teaching experience, and Paducah Public Schools will hopefully gain some of MSU's best and brightest as new teachers. So far, one student has been accepted to student-teach through the program at Paducah Middle in the fall, and five will student-teach at Clark.
Before the meeting's conclusion Monday night, board members went into executive session to evaluate Shively's performance in the 2015-16 school year. They gave him top marks of "exemplary" or "accomplished" on all aspects of his leadership: strategic, instructional, cultural, human resource, managerial, collaborative and influential.
"We couldn't ask him to be more committed," said Board Chairman Carl LeBuhn. "We feel he always has ideas to improve efficiencies and maximize resources. His emphasis on data driven instruction and knowing every student by name and need is leading to consistent improvement in student achievement.
"We appreciate his willingness to look at situations creatively, gather information, build consensus, and get it done. He is not afraid to lead. We are getting better as a district under his leadership."