Document lists Liberty Tech problems presented to school board
The following information was presented by Superintendent Verna Ruffin to the Jackson-Madison County School Board during their Monday, Sept. 21, meeting.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS RELATIVE TO LIBERTY TECHNOLOGY MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL
September 17, 2015
There are two primary areas of concern at Liberty:
1. Non-certified teachers were teaching classes which state and federal laws require the use of certified and highly qualified teachers; and
2. Class scheduling was improperly prepared and credit recovery was improperly used.
With respect to the use of non-certified teachers, in the second semester of 2014-15, district intervention occurred to assist Liberty in correcting the issue of having numerous non-certified teachers teaching mathematics. State and federal laws require this subject to be taught by certified and highly qualified teachers. During that time a teaching plan was created by Central Office and implemented at Liberty to assure highly qualified math teachers were teaching students. Directives were issued. The teaching plan required no additional personnel outside Liberty, as the capacity to serve the students with highly qualified teachers already existed at Liberty all along.
An opportunity for Liberty to demonstrate improvement and commitment to ensuring all students were being taught by licensed teachers and with the appropriate endorsement was afforded at the beginning of 2015-16 school year. Liberty assured Central Office that all subject areas were being taught by certified and highly qualified teachers. However, despite that assurance, Central Office learned that non-certified teachers were continuing to teach which left the school out of compliance with state and federal laws. Again, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Central Office had to intervene to implement a plan to assure compliance with state and federal laws.
With respect to the improper class scheduling and improper use of credit recovery, in August of the 2015-16 school year, a serious concern was discovered by the Academic Team and brought to the superintendent’s attention. Ag Science was being used as a science credit for multiple students who do not have agriculture as their program of study, causing CTE classes to be inappropriately over crowded.
A review of the Liberty’s master schedule and students’ schedules was conducted. After review of the students’ transcripts only 1 of the 19 seniors enrolled in this AG science class needed Agriscience to complete graduation requirements. When specifically asked to remove seniors from Agriscience, Liberty complied by eliminating a section. However, 16 seniors were left in Agriscience and P. E. classes were increased to 51 students, which is out of compliance with state teacher/pupil ratios.The problem with the Ag Science class led to full review of the Liberty scheduling, and after a review of specific changes in the master schedule and individual schedules submitted by Liberty on August 19, 2015, the Academic Team still found numerous errors in scheduling and the use of credit recovery.
With respect to scheduling, it was discovered that numerous students were enrolled in classes without having obtained credit in a prerequisite class. For example, Algebra I is a prerequisite for Geometry and Algebra II but students were enrolled in Geometry and Algebra II without having completed Algebra I. The same was true in English classes.
Specifically, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, of the current seniors at Liberty:
• 3 were enrolled in English III before passing English II
• 14 were enrolled in Algebra II before passing Geometry
• 3 were enrolled in Algebra II before passing Algebra I or Geometry
• 7 were enrolled in Algebra II before passing Algebra I
Of the Current juniors at Liberty:
• 1 was enrolled in English III before passing English II and English I
• 1 was enrolled in English II before passing English I
• 1 was enrolled in English II and English III before passing English I
• 12 were enrolled in Algebra II before passing Geometry
• 6 were enrolled in Geometry before passing Algebra I
• 4 were enrolled in Algebra II before passing Algebra I and Geometry
Of the Current sophomores at Liberty:
• 2 were enrolled in English II before passing English I
• 3 were enrolled in Geometry before passing Algebra I.
In addition to out of sequence scheduling, there were significant problems found in the use of Credit Recovery. The Credit Recovery Guidelines recommended by the State and approved by the District have guidelines that allow the use of credit recovery in two ways: (1) if a student takes a class and fails with a grade of 50 or higher, the student may take credit recovery for that class; and (2) a student may take a new credit recovery class if the student has 133 hours of “seat” time and passes the credit recovery exam.
It was discovered that 3 current juniors received 5 credits but failed to have 133 hours of time (66.5 hours of time for a .5 course) in a new class. Two of those students completed these hours in August, 2015. Examples:
· Student 1 enrolled in Content Area Reading on 10/24/14 and completed the last lesson on 11/10/14 and completed it in 5 hours and 42 minutes and earned a 90
· Student 1 enrolled in Earth and Space Science on 12/3/14 and completed on 12/12/14 and received an 83 and completed it in 8 hour and 24 minutes (this student’s GPA is 3.55)
· Student 2 enrolled in Economics on 8/3/15 and completed on 8/18/15 and received a 90 and completed it in 4 hours and 13 minutes (this is a .5 course) (this student’s GPA is 1.97)
· Student 3 enrolled in Economics on 8/11/15 and completed on 8/11/15 and received a 95 and completed it in 2 hours and 2 minutes (.5 course)
· Student 3 enrolled in U. S. Government on 8/10/15 and completed on 8/11/15 and received a 90 and completed it in 3 hours and 58 minutes (.5 course) (This student’s GPA is 1.45)
In August 2015, it was also discovered that 22 seniors, 4 juniors, and 1 sophomore were enrolled in credit recovery but did not meet the requirements of scoring a 50 in the class that the student failed.
At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Liberty had 74 students enrolled in Credit Recovery compared to 30 at JCM, 15 at North Side, and 10 at South Side; thus, Liberty had significantly more students enrolled in Credit Recovery than the total of the rest of the high schools in the District. Central Office has intervened and reduced the number of students enrolled in Credit Recovery at Liberty to 19. Therefore, 55 students were enrolled in Credit Recovery at Liberty at the beginning of the school year that should not have been enrolled.
In part, because of these issues, there are currently 32 seniors at Liberty that are in danger of not graduating timely. Central Office has been working with Liberty to put a plan in place to get these seniors graduation requirements fulfilled. It is a plan that has not been finalized but as soon as possible we will be meeting with affected students and parents to discuss the plan to satisfy graduation requirements.