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Education leaders reflect on 2017, talk 2018

Xavier Smith • Dec 28, 2017 at 4:36 PM

Wilson County education leaders recently reflected on their successes in 2017 and looked forward to possibilities and focuses for the upcoming calendar year.

Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright and Lebanon Director of Schools Scott Benson said both districts had a successful 2017.

“We've had a fantastic year in the LSSD. I'm very grateful for our outstanding LSSD team working extremely hard on a daily basis to provide a positive, safe, nurturing learning environment for the students we serve,” Benson said.

Benson pointed to the district’s achievement for the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System. For the fifth consecutive year, the district earned the highest possible level of growth – level 5.

A level 5 represents the highest level of growth and is considered “significant evidence of exceeding the growth standard.”

“In addition, and equally as important, we strive to build strong relationships with our families and community partners to help meet the many diverse needs of our students,” Benson said.

Benson said the district would continue to monitor and plan for impending growth to the area and its impact on the school district in the upcoming year.

“We will also continue to raise the bar of expectations as we work to improve our craft and the services we provide the families of LSSD,” Benson said.

Wright said the district’s 2017 accomplishments are worthy of praise, but also provide a path for success in 2018.

Wright highlighted the district’s continued ACT success, noting the district exceeded a goal set in 2014 to reach an ACT composite score of 21 by 2020. Wright said the 2017 senior class exceeded the goal with a 21.1, and the 2018 senior class has already exceeded their predecessors.

Wright also touted the district’s success in numeracy and literacy, specifically in regards to shrinking the gaps between subgroups.

Outside of the classroom, Wright said the district’s building program has been successful. In 2017, the district completed renovations at Tuckers Crossroads, Southside, Watertown and Gladeville elementary schools, continued renovations at a future central office on Harding Drive, started construction of a middle school in Gladeville and opened Springdale Elementary School in Mt. Juliet.

“Springdale Elementary has became a model school, one that is being presented as a demonstration school with the use of technology to support instruction and teaching,” Wright said.

She said growth and buildings to accommodate growth would continue to be a focus in 2018, most notably the future high school in Mt. Juliet. Wright said community meetings are set for the spring to discuss the plan for enrollment and zoning for the new high school.  

The district has a work session planned for Feb. 1 to create a new capital outlay plan to accommodate potential growth in the district. Wright highlighted the more than 10,000 homes approved in Wilson County.

“If you factor 1.3 children per unit, you can see the potential we face as a district. It’s frightening. The same thing happened in Rutherford and Williamson counties. Now, it’s our turn,” Wright said. 

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