Harlan County Schools BOE discusses assessments, maintenance

Published 11:16 am Friday, December 8, 2023

The Harlan County Board of Education held its regular meeting for December recently, discussing multiple topics, including the district’s improved performance on the Kentucky Summative Assessment.

Board Chairman Gary Farmer called the meeting to order and called on Superintendent Brent Roark, who updated the board on the school’s assessment scores.

Roark first advised the board about some recent assessments.

“The first thing I’ve got…we had the best assessment results that we’ve ever produced since I’ve been at Harlan County Schools,” Roark said. “Our state assessment results were exceptional.”

Roark pointed out the district scored in the green level overall for elementary, middle school and high school.

The state’s ranking system utilizes five colors associated with the scores. Ranging from lowest to highest are: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

“I’m extremely proud of that,” Roark said. “The high school scoring in the green category…that’s absolutely wonderful. That’s the best we’ve ever performed at the high school. We’re going to continue that. There have been a lot of changes put into place…that caused that to happen. I’m confident that’s going to continue for years and years to come.”

Roark explained the district’s elementary schools include both the elementary and middle school levels, which means they are counted as two separate schools by the state for assessment scoring purposes. Six of the elementary schools scored in the highest blue category and six also scored in the second-highest green category.

“Our schools are doing the best I’ve ever seen them do as a collective,” Roark told the board. “We’ve had schools scored high before, but we would have schools that scored high, some coming in in the middle and some that would drag us down. This year, that didn’t happen. All of our schools picked up and performed at a very high level.”

Roark noted the district scored the 38th highest in the state at the elementary level, 28th highest at the middle school level, and 28th highest at the high school level.

Roark mentioned multiple individual school received high rankings, some the highest in the state.

“When these scores came back, we started looking at them and I’ve never been more impressed with how our schools performed,” Roark said.

Roark then moved on to his report.

“The one thing I want to pull your attention to…is the maintenance report,” Roark said. “If you guys remember, you hired me six and a half years ago, and that thing was 26 pages. We went through each school and wrote down everything in the Harlan County Schools that was broken, busted, tore up and didn’t work right.”

Roark said the district’s maintenance department worked hard to fix all those issues, resulting in a maintenance report that is now much smaller.

“It went from 26 pages, and it is now two pages,” Roark said. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Roark mentioned any maintenance issues should be reported immediately so they can be addressed in a timely manner.