MCKINNEY — McKinney Elementary School teachers got a heaping helping of recognition Dec. 13 for their school's district-best performance under the new K-PREP accountability system.
When the new scores were released earlier this year, McKinney was one of two schools in the Lincoln County district to perform among the top 30 percent in the state and earn the title of "proficient."
Except for the other proficient school, Crab Orchard Elementary, all other district schools received the "needs improvement" classification, which was bestowed upon 70 percent of Kentucky's schools.
"We were given lots of warnings from the state department that our scores would drop and we wouldn't be where we were used to being," Superintendent Karen Hatter told those gathered at McKinney Elementary for the monthly district school board meeting. "We were very pleased to see that two of our elementary schools scored … proficient."
Hatter said McKinney's staff is unique in the way that they work together "kind of like a family."
"We're proud of you," she told McKinney's teachers, who were presented with a banner honoring the school's accomplishment. "We wanted to honor you; we wanted to show you that we are proud of you."
Jim Ward, district curriculum coordinator, told school board members McKinney's model for assessing its own performance and improving is exactly the model that needs to be used district-wide.
Teachers at McKinney examine where students have performed poorly in assessments like K-PREP, and then "drill down" to individual students so they can help the specific children who need help, Ward said.
Students are also kept in the loop at McKinney on the school's goals and performance, he added.
"That's why McKinney has been so successful," Ward said. "The kids in this building know what the target is."
McKinney teachers use a workbook that helps them analyze their students' performance and ask the right questions about improving, Ward said.
The workbook was originally created during the 2003-2004 school year by Gloria Davis and has been updated by James Carrier as standards have change over the years, said Pam Hart, district chief deputy of quality management.
Carrier is a curriculum specialist at McKinney who will take over as the new Highland Elementary principal in January.
McKinney Principal Jeff Craiger said teachers at McKinney put an emphasis on getting to know each of their students and their students' families.
"It helps to know and have relationships with the kids," he said.
School Board Chairman Jim Kelley said some people think small schools have an easier time than big schools, but it's not true.
"Just because you're small doesn't mean you're going to be successful," he said. "McKinney has come a long way since I came on the school board."
• In other school board news, board members approved the creation of two new coaching positions for bass fishing and archery.
Both sports were recently sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Lincoln boys' basketball coach Jeff Jackson said.
Each coaching position will have a stipend of $1,500.