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Farragut scores well on report

The same week Knox County schoolchildren brought home report cards, the state of Tennessee issued its own report cards to schools statewide.

Overall, the Knox County Schools system, comprised of 88 schools, earned a grade of B. West Knox County schools including Farragut Primary, Intermediate, Middle and High schools, Cedar Bluff Middle, A.L. Lotts and West Valley Middle schools fared well.

In fact, Mike Winstead, director of research and evaluation for Knox County schools, said, “Farragut Middle, Farragut High School and A.L. Lotts have been some of the highest achieving in the county and in the state.”

Winstead uses the report cards to track academic progress of Knox County students. The reports are a result of the 1992 Tennessee Education Improve-ment Act requiring the Depart-ment of Education to produce a yearly report for the public. It’s a means to hold schools accountable for their students’ performances and also provides demographic data.

Such data is used in part to monitor schools for No Child Left Behind federal requirements. The goal of NCLB is that every student is proficient in math, reading and language arts by 2014.

Dr. Charles Lindsey, superintendent of Knox County Schools, said, “We have shown significant increases in proficiency in most all subject areas by most of the demographic groups identified by the No Child Left Behind legislation. However, I am concerned about the performance in reading for our African-American and economically disadvantaged students.”

Performance for such data is not available for the seven West Knox County schools mentioned above because the schools report that a small percentage of students fall into those sub categories; schools with less than 45 members of a sub group are not required to report data.

Farragut High School, for instance, reports a student body that’s 90 percent white and only 4.4 percent considered economically disadvantaged.

Lindsey said of the county’s high school scores, “As a group, our high school students are also at over ninety percent proficiency in all evaluated areas, and our dropout rate has fallen to seven-point-seven percent; the lowest level in memory.”

By comparison, Farragut High School’s dropout rate for 2004 was 3.1 percent; a slight drop from last year’s 4 percent rating. The reports also lists the number of suspensions and expulsions for a school year.

In grades kindergarten-through-eighth, the school system received a B from the state in both math and reading/language and a C in both science and social studies. Those marks are above the state average. Student scores are based on tests taken throughout a school year including TCAP, ACT and Gateway exams.

Dr. Donna Wright, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, commented on the quality of teachers in the system.

“While the state report card reflects that about one-third of our teachers are highly qualified, well over half have completed the process of validating their training to be recognized as highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind act,” she said. “We have exceptional teachers in this system as is evidenced by the above average level of performance we maintain on less than average funding.”

In other school news: The Knox County Commission voted Monday to allow school officials to buy the land for a new West Knox County high school. The Board of Education will be working on a revised capital plan promised to the commission next month. The budget will spell out how other Knox County school projects will be affected by funding appropriated for new construction, a concern of the commission.

Individual schools’ report cards are available online at under the heading “State News.”


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