An independent academic audit of Lincoln County Middle School (LCMS) revealed several issues that need to be addressed, including instances of classroom racism and disruption, an inconsistent behavior plan, a lack of data management, and the need for a better test preparation. The report also suggests that there is a need for professional development for all special education staff.

The Lincoln County College Academic Review Report was written by the Academic Directors between March 20 and April 13. It included site visits, observations and interviews as well as an online survey and data collection.

The Interior Journal acquired a copy of the journal via an open records request.

“The initial study showed evidence of underachievement and/or inconsistent performance in state and school appraisal reports, high levels of teacher turnover, reliance on a platform curriculum that may not conform to the language and rigor levels found in state standards, special education and underachieving student performance models, and a data management system that may not not represent the format or rigor found in state assessments,” the review states.

The review ranked areas needing improvement in different categories, Murray said.

The main areas that the academic review focused on were school leadership, school culture and climate, student behavior, teacher work, student work, test preparation, student engagement and special education.cation status.

school management

“The overall perception of the current management of the school is very positive,” the review states. “…Teachers and students all said the school was different and better since the administration changed. One teacher noted that “we are finally going back to the good school that we were”.

The review indicated that it is difficult to assess the current school climate and culture due to the number of remaining issues from the previous administration. The LCMS changed direction in March when Stacy Story resigned as director amid an investigation into allegations of ‘negligence of duty, incompetence, inefficiency, dishonesty and lack of institutional control’ .

Culture and school climate

The review indicated that all stakeholders seem to think that LCMS is a good school and that adults and students are friendly and get along well.

In most classrooms, the teacher-student ratio was “at least enough to make students feel safe and welcomed,” according to the review.

“Other areas of climate and culture were less positive. The students seemed obedient rather than very committed and were comfortable with work that wasn’t too difficult to complete,” he says. Teachers’ work in the classrooms ranged from desk work to roaming and monitoring, but rarely involved challenging students or providing feedback shaping work that was less than competent.”

The review also said that teachers, parents and student focus groups mentioned instances of racism at school and that “not all students feel equally safe and welcome”.

Student behavior

Student behavior varied from class to class, according to the review, which noted three things after observing the classrooms. First, the review indicated that most students were compliant, but there were instances of misbehavior that caused a loss of instructional momentum.

“Some classes had behavioral expectations displayed, while others did not, and not all expectations were the same,” the review states. “Even when expectations were posted, the application was found to be inconsistent.”

The review also noted that behavioral expectations appear to be reactive and focused on what cannot be done rather than “focusing on the optimal behaviors that should be exhibited in the learning and performance environment”.

Behavior was not considered a major issue, according to the review, but it noted that there were inconsistencies that caused classrooms to fall below optimal expectations for behavior.

“Observers felt that students were taking advantage of some of the inconsistencies that existed before the change in administration, and that teachers were responding not only inconsistently, but also in ways that did not end the behavior or restore optimal environments,” the review says.

None of the classrooms were “out of control” according to observers, but the declared pedagogical momentum was lost due to students arriving late to class, frequent requests to use the restroom, and off-task behavior.

Student work

Observers from pedagogical directors noted that they expected to see more rigorous student work than traditional classroom work.

“In most classrooms, students were engaged in Summit protocols, but not to the level that the observer thought was considered ‘very engaged.’

Summit Learning is an online platform used at LCMS.

In special education classes, much of the work appeared to be below grade level, according to the exam, and some students in resource classes were not doing the same work as the rest of the students.

“In one case, these students were not working at all,” the review says. “In order for students to work to their full potential and to bridge the gap between students in the regular program and those in special education, all students will be required to complete appropriate calibration work before taking the test.”

teacher job

There were two areas that were noted as needing next attention, including “optimal student work/engagement and optimal student behavior”.

“The fact that teachers and students were involved in the protocols of the Summit will perhaps give a false reading in the evaluation of the work of the teachers,” the review indicates.

Based on a rating of one to five, one being “nneeds improvement” and five being “optimal”, teachers needed better access to school systems and student performance data to identify priority learning or performance needs. Teachers also need to improve the link between lesson learnings and assessment questions.

Preparing for the test

Observers from the Educational Directorates noted three areas that need improvement to better prepare students for state tests.

The review says the LCMS needs to improve the identification of test prep priorities in lesson objectives, alert students as they work on learnings that will be included in status assessments, and link learnings to specific types of test questions and the level of rigor found in state tests.

Student engagement

According to the review, protocols for the Summit Learning program included engaging strategies, but they were not followed consistently from class to class.

“ED observers were unable to determine exactly what teachers were expected to do while students participated in Summit activities, and when the issue was included in teacher interviews, a variety inconsistent answers were given,” the review said.

Data management

The review revealed several areas requiring improvement in data management. According to the report, the school needs to improve the use of multiple data streams to assess student progress and the implementation of the school plan, as well as create learner and assessment profiles for all students. students to identify strengths and areas of concern falling within the testing window.

“Student-focused data management is an essential part of the calibration work in schools, especially as schools move towards the opening of the testing period,” the review states. “ED highlights the need to collect data on school management systems that determine their impact or act as barriers to student performance. They should also observe students working and analyze the product the students produce to determine where the underperforming work fails and the possible reasons why it fails at this point.

special education

The special education specialist and regular classroom observers recorded both positive and negative observations about the special education program at LCMS.

“Attitudes from teachers and students appear to be very positive,” the review said. “It was evident from both interviews and observations that students and teachers liked each other.”

According to the review, the LCMS schedule supports the use of a “co-teaching” model of providing instruction at all levels.

The review noted that the learning environment for special education needed improvement.

“Many of the physical spaces lacked organization, materials, and/or decorations that reflected the subject and/or content of the study,” the review said. “Most of the spaces were teacher-centered with a lack of open-ended questions that fostered discussion.”

The lack of rituals and routines has resulted in chaotic transitions between activities both in classrooms and throughout the school, observers say.

“LCMS is off to a good start with the use of co-teaching. More training is needed, and staff would benefit from being able to observe what good co-teaching isching looks like,” the review reads.

The review recommends more professional development for special education staff.

Summary of positives

The review gave a summary of the positives found during the educational audit, including the cleanliness of facilities, classrooms and common areas, as well as the ability of teachers to communicate and work well together.

Pupils’ attitudes were positive towards school and their teachers and pupils ‘attended to their homework and at least complied with what they were asked to do’.

“Most teachers were able to set goals, set tasks for students in Summit protocols, and at least some of them monitored and gave feedback to students as they worked,” the review said. Teacher attitudes were positive towards the school, and both students and teachers wanted students to succeed, observers said.

“Special education teachers reported feeling supported by administration and their colleagues,” the review states.

In the summary of areas to be addressed, the review indicates that there is a need for improvement with respect to discipline, classrooms, professional development, test preparation and special education.

Next week’s edition of The Interior Journal will feature information on LCMS’s action plan to address areas that need improvement, as well as Lincoln County Board of Education members’ response to the council’s business meeting. May 5.