Dade Seeing Recovery in Test Scores Post COVID Shutdowns


Director of Academics/Testing for Dade County Schools presented the test scores for the 2022-2023 school year to the Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting. Davis said some of the test scores would make board members sit up proudly and others would make them want to slump down in their seats. Davis explained testing levels where Level 1 is considered Beginning Learner, Level 2 is a Developing Learner, Level 3 is Proficient Learner and Level 4 is a Distinguished Learner. In ELA (English Language Arts) Dade County Schools scored a little below the state average pre-COVID. Last year’s scores show the county is tying the state level or scoring a little above the state
average. “We are starting to make gains back,” Davis said. Before COVID, Dade County was knocking Science scores “out of the park” Davis said. Last year Science scores were above the state average, but this past school year saw a drop. Davis said they are not happy with where Social Studies scores are, either. Board Member Dr. Jayne Griffin pointed out that despite the fact the ELA scores were over the state average, definitely a goal, 50% of students are not scoring proficient in certain testing areas. Griffin asked what the board needed to do in order to help those students individually get to where they need to be.

There are multiple steps the school system is taking in order to help students with their proficiency. One thing has been lightening the load for principals in order to give them the time to spend in classrooms in order to monitor the Tier 1 (see RTI Pyramid) interventions. Davis said if the Tier 1 interventions are solid, which is not the case in most school systems nationwide, then 80% of students will be proficient learners. Then the school system will work on becoming solid in Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention programs.

Additionally, Davis said they are digging into the data and pulling data from up to five years back. They are looking at where students are not proficient, were they proficient before, what changed, why students have moved to a different level in testing, and many other factors. The school system is also looking at bringing training to the teachers for less time out of the classroom instead of having to send them to other locations. The school system has six teachers pursuing their gifted endorsement as well. Davis said House Bill 538 and Senate Bill 48 are also
going to provide help. Senate Bill 48, also known as the Dyslexia Law, especially will require that teachers in K-3 be fully trained in reading science.

Mindy Hayworth with the Dade County Public Library spoke to Board Members about the ways the library is working with the school system to help students. The library has received a grant from the Frank P. Pierce Foundation which will help the library provide one on one tutoring for students K through 12 for another year. The grant pays teachers for their time tutoring students and parents can sign up for tutoring through the library’s website. Other ways the library is working with the schools is through the Summer Reading Program which promotes reading for
seven weeks to help prevent the summer slump in learning. The library served 350 lunches through the summer lunch program. The past two months the library has met with parents and teachers on services at the library and with information on the library’s Play Card for students which provides access to Libby and other services, Learning Express Library, test prep and career prep for high school students. The library also participates in work-based learning with the high school and afterwards students can use their Play Cards. At the state level, since reading scores are down statewide, the state has decided to incentivize the 0 -5 reading initiative 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. Hayworth said after ten books the child receives a stuffed animal reading buddy and at further levels along the way are more prizes. The Ready to Read program continues as well.

Dade County Schools have been in the news with WDEF over the past month. Davis teacher Leah Bible was given WDEF’s Golden Apple Award this week. DCHS CTAE Teacher Al Barton and his classes were featured on What’s Right with Our Schools earlier this month. Special speakers were invited in to speak with students about financial matters. The feature can be viewed here:

DCHS student Landon Williams was recognized and awarded a ring by Athletic Director Brent Cooper and Wrestling Coach Jeff Poston Williams won his second state title by beating a contender ranked 14 th in the nation. Poston said Williams and he stood on the sidelines for four hours while the other coach and wrestler tried to get in Williams’ head, then Williams dominated them.

Jonathan Gann announced that he had applied and received a Songbirds Grant of $4,300 which will buy 15 guitars and ten sets of music for the Guitar Club.

Board members approved a list of action items including, the DC Board of Education Annual Training Plan for FY24; the FY24 Title II, Part A Expenditure: Learning Focused Schools Online Train the Trainer Professional Development for six teachers; FY 24 DC Career, Technical, Agricultural and Education (CTAE) – Perkins V Program Improvement Grant; an RFP – The Energy Savings RFP for Davis Elementary and Magic Morgan Stadium LED lighting for $417,127 with
Georgia Power; and the purchase of fuel at 3.6994/gal from Valley Oil.

Board members entered Executive Session for personnel, property, safety, and students. When board members returned from Executive Session they approved the resignation of Tina Castleberry, hiring of paraprofessional Bailey Godwin, hiring of substitute teacher Chaley White, resignation of Andrea Spurlock and hiring of Jessica Talley in School Nutrition.

Watch the full meeting here!

By Summer Kelly