Heartland high school improved test scores to avoid losing accreditation

Heartland high school improved test scores to avoid losing accreditation

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - One Heartland school district came dangerously close to losing its accreditation, meaning the state would actually come in and take it over.

Now, Caruthersville is becoming one of the best performing schools in the state.

Scores were so low, school leaders had to made a 35-page document full of objectives on how they were going to overcome low scores.

It was a goal even some teachers didn't feel was possible.

"Sometimes you get into the routine of I don't know if we can really change this," science teacher Debbie Currie said

Currie said when she saw her students not interested in learning, she knew some changes had to be made.

"One thing we realized is that we have to make the kids more interested in what we're learning," she said. "Sometimes that's easier than other times."

In 2012, school leaders created a five-year plan that outlined ways to make sure the district didn't lose its accreditation.

Their biggest goal, improving students reading skills in each grade level.

"We've done a good job as a staff monitoring what our kids know," Currie said. "Sometimes we would give a kids a test and think we done a good job now we check and see."

"We knew that we could do it," high school principal Roger Alsup said. "We knew that we could pull it together and rally all of our staff and rally all of the community. Get our students in the right frame of mind that they can actually do this, this is not something that's impossible."

Since making those changes, the district's performance level jumped from 61 percent to 95 percent.

"We're working harder because we know how hard it is to maintain that high level," Alsup said.

It earned the district a visit from Governor Jay Nixon, who said other schools can learn from Caruthersville's success.

Even with the school's success, Debbie Currie plans to keep finding new ways to engage her students.

"If we can use some of the things that they like in terms of short videos clips," she said. "News clips, some YouTube clips, things that they associate in their real life, they tend to be more receptive of things we're going to learn."

Not only did the school academics get better, the Caruthersville basketball team is playing in the quarterfinal on Saturday, March 5.

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