RJR receives “Targeted School for Intervention” from the state

Katie Mohr, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, January 8 students at RJ Reynolds High School were sent home with a lengthy letter that gave details of the school’s performance from the previous year. This caused alarm for some families because the letter addressed some problems that Reynolds was facing. Not to worry though, things are not as serious as they sound.

The letter was split into two parts. The first part explained that Reynolds has been designated a TSI school, which stands for “Targeted School for Intervention.” This means that there is a subgroup within Reynolds that is not meeting the proficiency target they were assigned by the state. When this happens the school is required by law to send a letter home to parents. This year, Reynolds’ subgroup happens to be students with disabilities. 

Although they did not reach their goal, students with disabilities gave outstanding performances this past year by nearly doubling their proficiency rate in biology and english two. The bar is set higher and higher every year, which sometimes makes it hard to reach.

Since Reynolds is not in need of as much help as other schools in the district, there will be no intervention from the state. The help is mostly given from the teachers. 

Dr. Leslie Alexander explained that performance can improve by “mostly working with the teachers and looking at how we can improve attendance for our students and how we can look at collaborating and co-teaching better to help meet the needs of our students with disabilities.”

The second part of the letter described Reynolds’ overall performance for the past year. In terms of growth, the school did an excellent job. Reynolds was the third highest growing high school in the district, meeting our growth standard at a .93. Anything over zero is meeting growth. 

Dr. Alexander describes the definition of growth as a “moving target.” The state issues the school a grade based on its students’ performances compared to others in the state. 

The school was also given a report card grade. Grades are given out to schools across the state every year based on the performance of students in 10th grade. 80 percent is based on Math I, Math III, biology and English II proficiency. 20 percent is based on English II growth and math scores. They also look at components like graduation rate, ACT score, and proficiency in 10th grade english language learners.

Reynolds has come a long way in recent years. 

“When I first came here 5 years ago we were a ‘C’, now we are ‘B’ so we will continue to work up to hopefully get to an ‘A’ at some point,”Alexander said. “But with the proficiency to growth ratio of 80/20 it will be difficult for us to be an ‘A’ because we have students at 29.6 percent ready for highschool.” 

A lot of schools struggle with students who come to high school underprepared. “Only 29.6 percent of our students are ready for highschool so it’s a big jump to move that number by the 10th grade.” Alexander said.

Students are not coming into high school as prepared as they should be. Freshman teachers can only improve their students’ scores so much before they move on to tenth grade. Although achieving an ‘A’ may be difficult but it is not impossible. With cooperation from students and teachers Reynolds has the potential to be an A+ school.