Archive for the ‘Evaluation & Accountability’ Category

As part of its ongoing, continuous improvement process, Lake County Schools is inviting all parents, students and staff members to participate in an online survey now through May 13.

Last month, the Lake County School District participated in a required five-year onsite review for renewal of the accreditation status. Lake County Schools was one of the first 200 districts in the nation to obtain district accreditation and is currently accredited through AdvancED, the worldwide accrediting agency for quality school systems and schools.

Participating in the annual stakeholder survey helps stakeholders understand the AdvancED Standards for Quality Systems and Schools and provides a means for the schools and district to learn what parents, student, and staff members expect in a high quality school system. These surveys are conducted through the AdvanceED website. All responses are secure and are confidential.

“Surveys are a means to systematically engage all stakeholders in two-way communication,” said Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Director of the Planning, Evaluation & Accountability Department at Lake County Schools. “The surveys provide district and school leaders and teachers a lens into the thinking and perceptions of stakeholders. Careful analysis of the results enriches understanding of areas of strength and effectiveness as well as those areas that possibly need improvement. The survey results enable the district and school leaders to measure stakeholders’ attitudes and help target improvement strategies focused on student achievement as well as school and district effectiveness.”

To complete a survey, click on the relevant link below:


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Fresh off of spring break, Lake County students will refocus their attention this month as many will be taking the reading, math and science portions of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

This month’s testing begins next week as some students in 10th, 11th and 12th grade retake FCAT/FCAT 2.0 in math and reading. A complete list of testing dates includes:

  • April 8-19 — Grades 11-12 and repeating 10th grade students for those students required to take math and/or reading retake tests
  • April 17-18 — Grade 5 (science on both days)l; Grade 8 (science on April 18)
  • April 15-19 — Grades 3-5, 7-8, 10 (reading); Grades 3-4, 6-8 (math)
  • April 22-26 — Grades 6 & 9 (reading); Grade 5 (math)

“We start FCAT testing district-wide next week so we’re asking all of our students, families and teachers to get lots of rest so they are prepared and ready to go,” said Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools. “I am confident that our teachers have done an outstanding job to prepare our students.”

It is imperative parents and students are aware of the following Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) policies:

  • Electronic Devices Policy — If a student is found with any electronic devices, including, but not limited to cell phones and smart phones, during testing, including bathroom breaks, his or her test will be invalidated. The best practice is for students to leave devices at home or in their lockers on the day of testing.
  • Testing Rules Acknowledgment — All FCAT 2.0 tests include a Testing Rules Acknowledgment that reads, “I understand the testing rules that were just read to me. If I do not follow these rules, my test score may be invalidated.” Prior to testing, test administrators will read the rules to students, and students must acknowledge that they understand the testing rules by checking a box next to the statement.
  • Test Invalidations — Students are responsible for working on their own during the test and for protecting their answers from being seen by others. If students are caught cheating during testing, their tests will be invalidated. In addition, the FLDOE employs a test security company, Caveon Test Security, to analyze student test results to detect unusually similar answer patterns and other irregularities.
  • Leaving Campus — If a student leaves campus before completing the test (e.g., for an appointment), he or she will not be allowed to complete the test. If a student does not feel well on the day of testing, it may be best for him or her to wait and be tested on a make-up day. Please also be mindful to not schedule appointments on testing days.

 To prepare students for these testing dates, Lake County Schools is offering some tips for parents/guardians:

  • Pay attention — Stress to your child that they will need to listen to the testing instructions very closely and follow the written directions exactly.
  • Don’t rush to finish — Make sure your child uses any extra time to check their answers and complete any questions they left blank.
  • Skipping is OK — Remind your child that they don’t have to answer the questions in order. If they’re unsure about a question, tell them it’s OK to come back to it later. Students will have enough time if they maintain a consistent pace throughout the test. They should not get “bogged-down” on any one question. Encourage your child to answer every question.
  • Find the best answer — It’s tempting for students to choose the first answer that looks right. Make sure they understand that several of the answers may seem right, but that they need to choose the one best answer.
  • Aim High! — Encourage them to do their best and help them believe that they will do well. Send them to school with words of encouragement and make sure he/she is relaxed, confident and positive.
  • Minimize the “fear factor” — Let your child know that it is normal to be nervous about the “unknown”, but the more he/she knows about the test the less nervous they will feel. Help them understand that they can rely on what they have been taught throughout the year.
  • Give them “brain food” — Provide students with a light breakfast that may include some fresh fruit or fruit juice. Try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, such as sugary cereal and soda.
  • Get them to bed — Make sure students are well rested. It is recommended students receive at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest the night before each testing day. For most elementary school children, 10 hours of sleep every night is best.
  • What you can do at home — Look over test review materials available on www.fcatexplorer.com, www.FLAssessments.com/ePAT and http://fcat.fldoe.org/fcat2/fcatitem.asp.

For more information about the statewide assessment program, visit the FLDOE website at http://fcat.fldoe.org.

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Lake County Schools recently honored three employees — Barry Farley, Bill Miller and Beth Minnix — for striving for high achievement levels.


The Superintendent’s Achievement Award recognizes employees who have shown meritorious achievement that exceeds well above and beyond expectations, and which is supported by evidence of noteworthy accomplishments and measurable performance results.

This year’s three recipients of the Superintendent’s Achievement Award include:

  • BARRY FARLEY, Manager of Testing & Evaluation – He was nominated by Dr. Kathleen Thomas Director of Planning, Evaluation & Accountability who said, “Barry has provided distinguished service, leadership and innovation to the School District of Lake County during his 32 years.” Farley has not only made immeasurable contributions to the assessment program in the District, but he has touched the lives of many students as a coach for bowling, tennis and basketball. “I’m happy for the Department,” Farley said. “Something like this is great recognition for our Department.”
  • BILL MILLER, Principal of Leesburg High – He was nominated by two employees, Mike Elchenko, Principal at Umatilla High, and Kati Pearson, Director of Teaching and Learning. “He is the superman of high school principals,” Elchenko said. This recipient worked to strengthen the culture and positively impact the perception of his school with the mission statement, “finding success in all students.” A 31-year employee of Lake County Schools, under his leadership, a seven-year “D” high school earned a “C” for the past two years. As an advocate of professional development, this leader has brought renowned authors like Erin Gruwell and Dr. Adolph Brown to his campus. He was also the first principal in Lake County Schools to receive his Reading Endorsement. “I am grateful that we have a Superintendent that sees the value of recognizing the ongoing efforts to help Lake County Schools excel,” Miller said.
  • BETH MINNIX, Purchasing Agent – She was nominated by her supervisor, Pamela Hayes, Supervisor of Purchasing, and has been an employee of Lake County Schools for 32 years in the Purchasing Department. This employee is considered a “jewel” by any principal who has built a school or had to oversee an addition to the school. This nominee created a reconciliation process that is unique to Lake County Schools. In one year she had the responsibility of overseeing the building of four elementary schools and two high school additions. “It’s very humbling,” Minnix said. “I’ve almost spent my whole life in this District. I graduated from Lake County Schools and came to work here.”

Nominees for the Superintendent’s Achievement Award qualify by meeting certain criteria, such as distinguished service, leadership and innovation. Nominations were submitted at the end of last school year. A committee consisting of a District administrator, principal from each level, current Teacher of the Year, current School Related Employee of the Year and a community representative reviewed the nominations during the summer.

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