Testing Data Released - September 28, 2021

Dear JEFCOED Family,

Earlier today the state department released on their website spring testing data for the 2020-2021 school year.  In areas like English Language Arts/Reading, we saw a less dramatic drop.  One grade level actually saw a slight increase.  However, in areas like math, the learning loss was much more pronounced.

I do want to point out that lower than normal test scores are not confined to Jefferson County. Alabama as a state is following the national trends with decreases in academic achievement across the board. Our JEFCOED educators showed innovation, creativity, and dedication to deliver instruction remotely to a large portion of our student population.  However, the results do confirm to me there is no replacing in-person instruction. This data shows that students need to be in the classroom to learn effectively.  

We could accept this data at face value and blame COVID, or we could work together to make improvements and raise our text scores next spring.  I choose the latter.  Yes, we got hit with something unprecedented, but as a district, the pandemic does not have to be the last page of our story.  It’s time for all of us to make a commitment to unfinished learning!

Here is what we have done already and what we will do in the coming months:

  • Started the SOAR Program this summer. Because of this program and the work of our students and teachers we saw 58 seniors graduate, 508 secondary students were promoted, and 1500 secondary students recovered or advanced at least one course.
  • Hired math coaches for most K-8 schools.
  • Hired reading coaches for most elementary schools.
  • Implement an after-school tutoring program, 3 days a week that is open to all students.  This is set to launch as early as November and no later than the start of the second semester.
  • Educators participating in district-wide data meetings to address intervention needs

 

I want to close with a word of thanks to our teachers and school leaders.  Imagine how much worse this situation would be had they not worked tirelessly to mitigate the effects of COVID.  That work now continues for all of us.  

Our theme for this school year is “Forging Ahead,” and I believe there could not be a more appropriate one.  Let’s Forge Ahead together!  Students, parents, teachers, administrators, and district leaders all have a role to play.  

Sincerely, 

Dr. Walter Gonsoulin

Superintendent