WCS breaks own ACT district record
By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
Dr. Looney and some board members unveil the WCS average ACT score of 23.4. Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney (center)(From left) Board members Rick Wimberly, Eric Welch, Janice Mills, Pat Anderson, Vicki Vogt, Bobby Hullett and Cherie Hammond.
Photos by Kerri Bartlett
Williamson County Schools announced today that the district’s Class of 2013 achieved an ACT average score of 23.4, the highest score in district history, breaking their 2012 record score of 23.1.
Brentwood High School scored 25.4, the highest in the district with a .3 increase from 25.1 in 2012.
Middle College High School achieved the most gains by increasing from 19.1 in 2012 to 20.5 in 2013 – a 1.4-point, an “unheard of” increase, according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney.
WCS board members, high school principals, staff and county representatives gathered for a press conference today at WCS unveiling the highest scores since the district’s commencement in 1899.
“This didn’t just start today,” said WCS Chairman of the Board Pat Anderson. “It didn’t just start with the strategic plan several years ago, each of you in this room have played a role in student’s success today.”
Anderson also added that she believes that the scores represent the results of the board’s work in developing a strategic plan to achieve a district average score of 24 by 2017 – a goal that WCS is swiftly approaching.
“We can stand should to shoulder with any other school district in the nation if not the world,” said Board Member Eric Welch.
Looney reported that the national average of ACT scores is 20.9 according to reports, while the state average is 19.5.
Chairman of the Board Pat Anderson and Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney addressed the crowd with the support of members of the WCS Board of Education in attendance.
Dr. Donna Wright, assistant superintendent of high schools, attributes the increase in district scores to the collection and review of student data based on ACT practice test analyses.
Practice exam results allow teachers to focus on the areas in which students need additional academic interventions to increase scores.
Franklin High School puts data to use by offering a semester class – an ACT review course – for students who score below 21 on practice tests.
“There’s a big push for prep classes. We identify student weaknesses and focus on strategies to address those weaknesses,” said Principal Willie Dickerson.
FHS scored an ACT average score of 23.9, up a tenth of a point from 23.8 in 2012.
“It has been an incredible effort in the alignment of curriculum and focusing on instruction in which every student has the opportunity to learn. It begins as early as the third grade,” Wright said.
“I’ve never seen a bump like this in my thirty years as an educator.”
Looney said as part of "Ladders for HOPE," the district is striving for all high seniors to qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, which requires an ACT score of 21.
"It's never been done in Tennessee or America," Looney said.
"We are committed to stay the course."
Posted on: 8/22/2013