State Report Card: Unicoi County High School gains among the best in Tennessee

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jan 13, 2017 at 3:27 PM

ERWIN — The Unicoi County Board of Education congratulated its high school students, teachers and administrators on a job well done Thursday following a review of the school’s superlative achievements on last year’s State Report Card.

Supervisor of Secondary Curriculum Sherry Ray delivered the good news in a summation of the high school's outstanding End of Course Assessment scores and review of the programs that helped achieve them.

Released at the end of December, the 2015-16 State Report Card placed Unicoi County High School third in the state in Value-added gains in math, tied with Greene and Hawkins counties for the largest overall gains in Northeast Tennessee, and among the region’s top performing schools in the English and the combined category of numeracy and literacy.

In college readiness composite scores, UCHS students’ average 19.3 ACT score was up 1.2 percent from the previous school year and tied with Greeneville High School for the largest ACT score increase in Northeast Tennessee.

The high school’s graduation rate climbed 1.1 percentage points over the previous school year to 90.6 percent.

According to Ray, the numbers were revealed to the school systems in phases beginning in mid-November but were embargoed for release to the public until the end of the year.

“Other systems were calling us, asking ‘what are you all doing?’ ” Ray said.

"I commend the teachers. The information we got from this was out of this world.”

Ray told the school board four key programs aided the teachers and their students in the gains:

• Edgenuity, innovative classes designed for student groups of varying performance levels.

• Career and College Counseling, a program made possible by funding from the Ayers Foundation that designates teachers to help students prepare for college and careers.

• UC Advanced, a teacher-led online course for students taking an non-traditional path to graduation.

• Targeted Professional Development, a program that allows teachers work with professors at East Tennessee State University and Milligan College and to return to school to share what they learn with their fellow teachers.

Director of Schools John English recalled for the school board members that last school year’s statewide testing period was very stressful with online glitches, “on-again, off-again” scheduling and an eventual cancellation of statewide testing for Tennessee’s primary schools.

“The teachers pushed through all of that. They shouldered it for all of us and we’re so proud of all of you,” English said.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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