High scores on recent testing has Sublimity Elementary School the highest scoring school in the Laurel County school district and in the Top 1 percent of the state's 725 elementary schools.
That is due to the dedication of teachers, said Principal Kristina Thomas during last week's Laurel County Board of Education meeting.
Sublimity scores ranked Number 1 in district and 11th in state in math and social studies, Thomas said. Continued improvement has sent the school's scores from 81.2 to 85 percent. Improvement in math was 3.8 percent although the improvement for the past two years has increased 12.8 percent in past two years proficiency. Improvement has also been shown in reading areas, jumping to 7 percent, with a total improvement rate of 13 percent over the past two years, while social studies improved 12.5 percent.
Thomas did say that science and new testing procedures dropped the scores last year.
"Science is our area of critical need. We failed 10 percent with new testing, we've revamped that program to include more rigorous resources and more higher order thinking for critical thinking," she explained.
That drop brought a review of the existing programs and teaching methodology, she added, starting with the Renaissance Program sponsored through Jolsten, the yearbook company used.
"We picked four key areas to 100 percent effort - there is a reward system in place, we talk that vocabulary all day long. The kids are super pumped about it. They want to do well because they know we want them to do well," Thomas added.
She said students were showing more school pride with student involvement at ballgames.
"We have kids coming with blue hair and yellow ribbons in their hair," she said.
That area also includes some character development that Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett commented about.
"So the character and virtue lessons are kind of embedded in the classical education because what good is it to be educated if you cannot have virtue," Bennett said.
The drop in science scores were attributed to having a new teacher last year who had never taught that subject area or at that grade level, Thomas said. She added that the new testing system was more like an ACT test.
"That's no excuse. We will have them ready," she said.
A difficult aspect of the science testing is that some questions allow for students to check two answers. Thomas said had the test been similar to the past testing system, the students would have scored proficient on the tests.
Board members then discussed the CHARGE History Grant for South Laurel Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year, with Bennett explaining the program. The approval for that grant from board members will allow for training for one teacher to administer the program that is geared at Civics, History, Advanced Research and Geography Education.
Other items discussed and approved were the creation of a full-time HHI (Home/Hospital Instruction) teacher and to re-create a full-time Family Resource/Youth Service Center secretary position for London Elementary.
The Laurel County Board of Education meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the Central Office meeting room on Main Street adjacent to the London Elementary School campus.