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Union County High School Pursuing Instructional Goals

Daniel Prince

School wants to raise graduation rate, Algebra 1 EOC passing rate, and number of freshmen earning 6 units toward graduation

At last month’s school board meeting, Principal Kevin Farmer presented information about Union County High School to the board. He stated they have three major instructional goals for the school this year. The main goal aligns with Superintendent Joey Haney’s goal for the year, and that is to raise the graduation rate from 70.8% to 80% by the end of the year. Another goal is to increase the passing rate for the Algebra 1 end of course exam from 32% to 40% by the end of the year. A third goal is to have 85% of current 9th graders earning at least 6 Carnegie units toward graduation by the end of the year. Statistics show that 9th graders who earn at least that many units are more likely to graduate. Farmer stated that programs won’t get them to their goals, but their people and hard work can get it done.

To help increase the graduation rate, the school has added a graduation and behavior interventionist to work with students at-risk of not graduating and counseling them at least once a week. Interventions are being targeted not only at seniors, but also second-year 9th graders and 9th graders who are currently failing classes, as these are the most at-risk of not graduating.

Farmer stated the tutoring program the district has implemented is going well. He said the school is forming partnerships with the virtual academy, career center, and others, including a special partnership with Healthy U Behavioral Health Services, who is meeting with a small group of high school students teaching them life skills. He said the guidance department has assisted seniors with creating FAFSA accounts. He said that FAFSA application rates went down during the pandemic, so he wanted to make sure the students would get those set up, so they did that at school.

Farmer said the school uses instructional coaching, as teacher credibility and effectiveness are two top influences on increasing student achievement. Farmer said even the best athletes need coaches, and so do teachers.

He noted that in the aftermath of losing a couple of members of the previous graduating class to car accidents, the school is emphasizing safe driving practices. They have hosted a safe driving simulator on campus this year and instructed the students on what happens during a traffic stop and what students should and should not do in those situations.

Farmer’s full presentation can be heard on the Union County School District’s Facebook page in the November 22 audio meeting.

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