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Shipman addresses schools' report cards

By Michael Butler

Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman discussed the recent Alabama Department of Education assessment for school sytems. The system average for Tallassee was a 74.

The grades apply test performance and growth by year. The process is a requirement by the federal government.

Tallassee Elementary received the highest grade with an 80. Tallassee High School scored a 77. Southside Middle School's average was a 65.

"Nobody likes to hear excuses," Shipman said. "You can take a class, say this year's eighth grade class and last year's seventh and the previous year's sixth to track that grade all the way through. If you look at the trends at the middle school level, there have been some low scores there for a while. We've been working on that."

Shipman spoke of transitions with technology at SMS.

"Where are we with technology? Is that helping us or hurting us? I like technology to a degree. It needs to accomplish what we want it to do which is make the education for our kids better. Improving test scores is like turning a ship, you can't do it overnight. They only test once a year. I did ask the middle school to retest to see where we are mid-year.

"Part of my message is, we're more than a grade. We try to work as a team. Some people say you need to run it like a business. We require relationships and a culture that supports education and learning. We have some really fine teachers in all of our schools. We have been working on this for the last year or two, not just because we got a bad report card grade."

As for what is expected of the system as a whole, Shipman said the goal is certainly to improve.

"I think we ought to have all "B" schools or better. We ought to be working on A's. We're not there yet, but that's our goal."

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