District continues to improve on state accountability

Oldham County Schools continues to improve and rank at the top among Kentucky school districts. According to 2015 Unbridled Learning state accountability results released today, the district is ranked 10th overall and is one of just 16 districts rated as distinguished, the state’s highest rating.

The Unbridled Learning system evaluates schools and districts using data from the KPREP assessment, college and career readiness and graduation rates.

Oldham County Schools is ranked in the 98th percentile statewide, according to the results from the spring assessments. This is the same percentile ranking held last year, although the district’s overall score improved by a half-point this year.

Eleven of the district’s 16 schools scored at the distinguished level this year, the same number as last year. Distinguished is the highest rank, awarded to those schools and districts in the top 10 percent of the state. Two schools were rated proficient and three schools were rated "needs improvement."

“Three schools had double-digit gains in overall ranking status among Kentucky schools — La Grange Elementary, North Oldham Middle and South Oldham Middle” said Leslie Robertson’s, the district’s director of academic support. “And our high schools continue to show outstanding success with all three schools ranked as distinguished and in the top 94th percentile."

La Grange Elementary showed huge growth this year, Robertson said, gaining 2.5 points over last year’s overall score.

Meanwhile, North Oldham Middle School became the first school in the district to earn High Progress reward status. This means the school scored in the top 10 percent of growth when compared to other non-Title I middle schools in the state.

“This is outstanding, especially considering their high ranking — in the 98th percentile,” Robertson said. The school’s achievement, gap and growth scores all increased significantly in all areas.

At the high school level, all three high schools improved their overall scores and continue to be rated as distinguished schools. When compared to other high schools in the state, South Oldham High is the seventh-highest scoring school and North Oldham the 15th-highest.

Robertson noted that the students tested changes each year — so while you can compare scores from year-to-year, it is important to keep in mind those scores reflect individual students. The K-PREP assessment in math and reading is administered to students in grades 3 through 8 each year, while only 5th and 8th graders take social studies and grades 4 and 6 take language mechanics. And, writing is only assessed in grades 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11. Also, grades 4 and 7 took the science test in the spring but those scores are not included in the accountability scores this year.

“We are focused on closing the gaps for students categorized in typically ‘underperforming' sub-groups” Robertson said, including free/reduced lunch, limited English proficiency, disabilities, African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans.

Interim Superintendent Rick McHargue said the district has a lot to celebrate but still has work to do.

“These results show us specific areas where we need to improve so that each of our students can grow and be successful,” he said. “We have already begun working with individual schools to develop plans to improve those areas and ensure the learning of every child."

Click here for the Kentucky Department of Education's School Report Cards.

District excels on Advanced Placement, ACT assessments

More than 40 percent of Oldham County Schools high school students took an Advanced Placement exam in 2015, according to data shared by Secondary Level Director Brent Deaves at the Sept. 28 board of education meeting.

“It shows a commitment by our staff to ensure students have the opportunity to take these classes,” Deaves said.

The Advanced Placement exams are the culminating assessment for college-level courses offered at all three district high schools in a variety of subjects — 28 different subjects in 2015. 

And while many students earn college credit for their AP exam scores, Deaves said that isn’t the only reason to take an AP course.

“We want all our students to be exposed to this type of college-level coursework,” he said, “It’s an engaging experience with a rigorous curriculum."

Last spring, 1,537 OCS students took an AP exam, with 2,526 exams given. Of those, about 69 percent scored a 3 or higher, generally considered a “passing” score. Across Kentucky, about 51.3 percent of test-takers earned a 3 or better, and 60.6 percent did so nationally.

Of the 28 subject areas tested in OCS, district students scored above the state, national and global average scores on 24 of them.

Deaves noted that while the number of students who took an exam last year dropped slightly — by 15 students compared to 2014 — participation is still much higher than five years ago. The number of students taking an AP exam is up 70 percent compared to 2011, and the number of exams given is up nearly 30 percent. 

While AP numbers remain strong, Deaves said students have increased opportunities to earn college credit through dual-credit classes with local universities. 

“This year, all three schools are participating in dual-credit courses for the first time,” he said. “District-wide we have more than 400 students participating in dual-credit opportunities with 10 different programs."

Deaves also shared ACT scores with the board of education, including the junior class score from spring 2015. Kentucky is one of 13 states that require every student take the ACT.

Those students, now seniors, scored an average composite score of 22.1, compared to a state average of 19.4. 

That score represents a tenth of a point increase from 2014, and is the second-highest composite score earned by the district’s juniors since the state implemented all-student testing in 2011. And, the class of 2016 posted the district's highest science section average across the past five years at 22.1.

“31 percent of our juniors met all four ACT benchmark scores,” Deaves said, “compared to 17 percent statewide.” 

Of the 13 states who test all students, the average composite score is 20.7. 

Lamb-Sinclair receives Teacher Achievement Award

20150910-Lamb-SinclairAshley Lamb-Sinclair, a creative writing and English teacher at North Oldham High School, is among 24 outstanding Kentucky educators named recipients of the 2016 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards.

Lamb-Sinclair has taught at NOHS since 2012 and is a National Board Certified Teacher and a previous recipient of a Pyramid Award for innovative classroom instruction from the Oldham County Educational Foundation.

The 24 outstanding educators selected for this year's awards qualify to compete for the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced next month. On Oct. 20, all 24 teachers will be honored at the State Capitol and the Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year will be announced. From those three finalists, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be named and will represent the state in the national Teacher of the Year competition. 

“I am surprised and honored and excited to be chosen,” she said. “I think I became a teacher is because I never wanted to leave school. I just loved learning and that’s the way I still am. I’m constantly trying to learn and explore new ideas."

Lamb-Sinclair works to provide project-based, unique opportunities for students — from a rare visit by national best-selling author Sue Grafton to a class combining culinary arts and creative writing — Lamb-Sinclair puts 21st Century Learning Outcomes to work.

“I have been so blessed in my life with amazing teachers and I think about it now as a teacher — I always had project based learning,” she said. "I always had opportunities to be authentic and that’s my philosophy — what i value as a teacher is authentic learning experiences."

The Teacher Achievement Award includes a cash award and custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments. They’ll also be honored at a special luncheon and will be recognized by Governor Steve Beshear, Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Thomas Zawacki, and Sam Mitchell, Ashland Inc.’s senior vice president and president of Valvoline.

This is the 15th year the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland have partnered to honor Kentucky educators by combining the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year program.

Judging was conducted in August by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators, many of whom have more than 25 years of teaching experience. Applications included information on the nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences and involvement in their respective communities, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others. 

Oldham County Schools has a long history of Teacher Achievement Award winners. Most recently, two Oldham County Schools teachers received the Teacher Achievement Award in 2014, including another NOHS teacher, Craig Grimm. Gina Weber, a teacher at Crestwood Elementary, also received the award. South Oldham High's Dr. Christine Price received the award in 2012. And South's Chandra Emerson won the Kentucky Teacher of the Year award in 2008.

Ashland has recognized outstanding Kentucky teachers with its Teacher Achievement Awards since 1988, awarding more than $776,000 to 524 teachers in grades K-12.

Congratulate her on Facebook!

NOHS student named Bell Award recipient
20150911-simpsonA North Oldham High School student has been named one of two recipients of the WLKY Bell Awards Youth Service Honor, announced by the WLKY Spirit of Louisville Foundation. Ten other students throughout the area will be recognized with Bell Awards, and the Foundation and Mayor Greg Fischer will present the “Mayor’s Spirit of Louisville” award to Con-way Freight and Brenda Frank for their leadership in the Mayor’s Give a Day community service initiative.
Hailey Simpson, a NOHS senior, is being honored with the Youth Service award for her efforts to support the Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia. She planned and organized books drives for the foundation — collecting 10,000 new and gently used children’s books over the past three years.  Hailey volunteered at Reading Camps as a counselor for two years and was invited to return this past summer at the Pine Mountain Settlement School Reading Camp.  She has organized two shoe drives to benefit Water Step, volunteers with Salvation Army, St. John United Methodist Church and tutors at her school, North Oldham High School, where she is a senior.
She is joined by Goshen resident and Kentucky Country Day student Chad Kamen in receiving the Youth Service Honor. 
The WLKY Bell Award recipients will be honored at a banquet at the Galt House Hotel on Friday, Oct. 9. A special one-hour telecast of The WLKY Bell Awards will air on WLKY Saturday, Oct. 24 from 8-9 p.m. Reservations to the dinner can be made by contacting WLKY at 893-3671 by Oct. 1.
Celebrating its 38th year, the WLKY Spirit of Louisville Foundation was formed to oversee the annual Bell Awards program. The 2015 Executive Committee of the Spirit of Louisville Foundation are Jill Bell/Passport Health, Nancy Davis/Stock Yards Bank, Sue Stout Tame/Civic Volunteer and Glenn Haygood/WLKY-TV.
National Merit semifinalists announced for 2015


Six Oldham County Schools students earned national honors this year through the National Merit Scholarship Programs.

  • From North Oldham High: Maggie Foster, Nicholas Landis and Hailey Simpson.
  • From South Oldham High: Caylem Ashcraft and Dylan Morris.
  • From Oldham County High: Reid Honeycutt.

These students are eligible for the 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million that will be offered next spring. The National Merit Scholarship Program awards semifinalist status based on scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and meeting other published requirements for participation.

Each year, about 1.5 million are entered into consideration. Approximately 50,000 students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.

Only about 16,000 students — about one-third of the high scorers — are named Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state.

About 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Join us in congratulating these students!


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