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Walden shares plan to increase student achievement

Grady County Assistant School Superintendent of K-8 curriculum Janet Walden updated the members of the board of education Tuesday night on curriculum goals and objectives for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
Topping the list is increasing the percentage of all students and reported subgroups who are meeting or exceeding on state assessments. Mrs. Walden said this can be accomplished by implementing innovative, research-based instructional practices and implementing a balanced literacy approach.
“We need to do more walk throughs and do more monitoring of what is going on in the classroom,” she said.
Another goal is to build professional capacity and improve teacher effectiveness. Mrs. Walden’s plan to accomplish this goal is to continue to actively recruit qualified teachers and to offer local teachers support and professional training in target areas of need.
The school system will continue its focus in improving parent and community relationships.
In 2018-2019, the school system will build upon the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports to encourage good behavior by students. “We are seeing the fruits of our labors and we will continue to build upon that,” Mrs. Walden said.
School system officials are also looking to refine the systemwide attendance protocol for the 2018-2019 year.
Board Chairman John White asked Mrs. Walden what the school system could do to gauge where a student begins a course and his/her growth at the conclusion of the course work.
Mrs. Walden said the only way is with pre and post assessments. Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said in the past, previous superintendents and assistant superintendents had pushed for just such a measure through benchmark testing but some within the system had been opposed to the testing. “No one wanted to do benchmarks, but now we all see that is what we need and not just one test at the end of the year,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Dr. Gilliard said in 2018-2019 the school system would be looking to see that lessons are engaging and that students are getting something from the lessons taught.
Mrs. Walden said that “stagnation” is always a concern and that in the new school term the focus will be on looking at lessons in a new way.
The assistant superintendent compared the state assessment standardized tests as the autopsy and she said that rather than focusing strictly on the “autopsy” the school system was going to focus on more frequent “wellness checkups” along the way.

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