Campbellsville Elementary

Campbellsville Elementary

Campbellsville Ind. Elementary: Time for change
Kentucky School Advocate
December 2016
By Madelynn Coldiron
Staff writer
Closing the achievement gap in the PS–3 Campbellsville Independent Elementary School involved shaking up the schedule of the school day. Principal Ricky Hunt said the majority of his third-graders – the first grade in which state assessments are given – fall into gap groups. The school has a 75 percent free lunch rate.

“Basically, if our gap group doesn’t do good, then our test scores are not good,” he said.

The school targeted students who were not at benchmark in reading and math and doubled or more than doubled the time they spent on those subjects. This was done by incorporating more reading and math into core content classes like social studies and science classes.

It was a two-way street, with social studies content worked in to a reading block, for example, said teacher Marcia Sharp. “You have to cross over. Before, we’ve always taught things in isolation and you really can’t teach in isolation anymore,” she said. “It’s meeting kids’ needs, not meeting teachers’ needs.”

Students who were at benchmark in reading and math remained in regular classes.

For special education students, the school moved those not at benchmark in reading and math into the same classes as the other students not reaching the mark, but also provided a co-teacher to assist them.
The result was a 23-point improvement in the school’s gap score* in 2015-16 K-PREP testing and an overall move from needs improvement to distinguished.

Data analysis also played a big role, Hunt said. “Working with data that we had accumulated from our universal screeners and other assessments, analyzing that data and getting down to brass tacks to exactly what the kids know and what they don’t know and teaching them what they didn’t know,” he explained.

Sharp added, “We’re seeing a big difference with our kids” because of learning checks every nine weeks that help teachers determine what students have mastered “and where we have gaps.”

The principal said students who attended an after-school program also got help there with reading, writing and math skills, while the school also benefited from extra help in the form of Campbellsville University students.

Sharp also pointed to a mentor program for third-graders in which three students were matched with a teacher mentor.
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