Chambers, Lanett school districts below average in state assessments

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 23, 2023

Both the Chambers County School District and Lanett City Schools were below the state average in assessment scores released earlier this month.

Overall, Chambers County School District fell 10 points below the state average with a districtwide score 73. Last year, CCSD had a 79 overall score and in 2019 — pre-COVID— CCSD scored a 78.

This year Lanett City Schools also scored 73. Unlike CCSD, LCS scores were an improvement from 2022. Last year, LCS had an overall score of 69 and in 2019 it was 70.

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Scores are based on Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program testing, the ACT writing test, Career Readiness Indicators and the graduation rate.

Huguley Elementary School was clearly the top-scoring school in CCSD with an overall score of 84. That’s an increase of three from last year’s score of 81.

Two CCSD schools scored in the 70s — Bob Harding Shawmut Elementary (74) and Fairfax Elementary (73).

The rest scored in the 60s — W.F. Burns Middle (69), Valley High School (68) LaFayette High School (68), J.P. Powell Middle (68), and Eastside Elementary (66).  

Lanett City Schools saw W.O. Lance lead the pack with a 75, an increase of six points since 2022. Lanett High School scored a 67 overall. Lanett Junior High School’s score was a 51, a drop of 12 points since 2022. In 2019, pre-COVID-19, the school scored a 79. 

More CCSD and LCS students tested in level 1 and 2 proficiency scores than in level 3 and 4 proficiency for each of the main areas: English Language Arts, math and science. The range for each proficiency level is defined by the grade level; levels 1 and 2 are considered not passing, and levels 3 and 4 are considered passing. 

However, CCSD Superintendent Casey Chambley said many elementary students have seen growth despite the effects of COVID-19. Chambley said though the average student may not be meeting the proficiency achievement, that doesn’t mean individual students aren’t seeing growth.

“We’re teaching more to proficiency,” Chambley said.

Chambley explained that one student moved from a level 3 proficiency in ELA to a level 4, which is the highest level, but because the amount of growth was lower than the average Alabama student, it doesn’t count toward the growth score.

Chambley said that 33 students who completed their college and career readiness credentials from Valley LaFayette High Schools were not included in the scores because of a computing error in PowerSchool. According to Chambley, the additional students may have increased their districtwide score from 73 to 75.

Chambley said the school district has a plan of action for improving the grades for the next year, starting with defining what mastery means and making sure instructors are focusing on learning objectives. 

He said the school system is also going to place a bigger focus on engaging students in college and career pathways sooner rather than later in their academic careers.

“This number does not define our teachers. It doesn’t define our schools,” Chambley said. “Now, we’re not satisfied. I’m not in any way condoning our grades, and we have had tough conversations in this office over the last couple of weeks.”

The VTN reached out to Lanett City Schools Superintendent Jennifer Boyd, who was unable to meet this week due to unforeseen circumstances.