Murray, KentuckyPopulation: 17,741Approximate size: 10.0 sq milesLocation: Murray is located in Western Kentucky above the Tennessee border and west of Land Between the Lakes recreational area. The city has a great deal of businesses and industry with the core city developed around Murray State University, a major Kentucky public university.Demographics: Total Population 17,741 17,741White 15,370 Male 8,224African American 1,204 Female 9,517Asian 587American Indian & Alaska Native 37 19 & Under 4,391Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander 6 20 to 24 4,494Other 192 25 to 29 1,427Identified by two or more 345 40 and Over 6,770 Population Distribution Population Growth
Murray High SchoolAddress: 501 Doran Rd. Murray, KY 42071Grade Levels: 9th-12th gradesStudents: 436Staff: Murray High School employs approximately 35 teachers plus additional support staff and administrators including the principal, assistant principal, counseling staff, and aides.Extra-Curricular: All major athletics are represented plus numerous clubs for students including but not limited to: archery, academic team, foreign languages, FBLA, yearbook, and speech.Demographics: Student Race Distribution Special Populations
Other Relevant Data Attendance Rate: 94.5% Retention Rate: 0.9% Dropout Rate: 0.4% Graduation Rate: 82.8% Free & Reduced Lunch %: 37.8% Transition to Adult Life College 88.0% Military 0.9% Work 10.0% Voc/Tech Training 0.0% Work & PT School 0.9% Not Successful 0.0% Student Resources Spending per Student $7,167 Student/Teacher Ratio 15:1 Students per Internet 2.3:1 Connected Computer Parental Involvement # of Students Whose 267 Parent/Guardian Had at Least 1 Teacher Conference # of Volunteer Hours 384
Synthesis & Reflection Initially I did not feel as though I could be ‘surprised’ or rather enlightened by the results ofthis demographic study. After seven years in Murray and over three actually living and working in thecommunity and school district I felt that I had a rather firm grasp on the community. However, therewere several statistics, most highlighted above, that I felt were pointedly interesting and worthdiscussion. As always, it’s crucial to understand and grasp the entire picture when analyzing asituation and this project allowed me to do just that. As far as the city of Murray is concerned, I focused the results on the actually city rather thaninclude Calloway County. Although in our school district we receive many students from outside ofour district limits I really wanted to analyze the true population within our district lines. First andforemost, Murray grew rapidly over the 20th century but population growth would appear to haveleveled off a bit. However, I think this can mainly be attributed to the pure limits of the city lines thathave forced an increase of population outside of the city limits. Simply driving five minutes out oftown would show the results of this as new subdivisions are prominent and numerous. In addition asis to be expected the greatest number of residents are between the ages of 19 and 24. This is surely aproduct of Murray State University and either students who are currently in school or are recentgraduates staying in the area. Even more telling is the fact that the age groups over 24 dropsignificantly in numbers, most likely due to students moving on to other communities. For schoolpurposes the 19-24 year olds are probably less likely to have children entering our schools which helpsto explain the relatively small size of the district in relation to the size of the city. Demographically Murray lacks much diversity as the population is approximately 87% white,7% African American, and the rest divided into small percentages. The unemployment rate iscurrently 8.2%, which is almost exactly aligned with current national averages. Also, again due to theinfluence of Murray State University, over 62% of citizens have some college experience, a bachelor’s,or professional degree. However, perhaps due to the increased numbers of citizens with degrees themedian earnings for those with bachelors and professional degrees is significantly lower than thenational average. Overall I feel as though the actual city of Murray is very dependent up on theuniversity and the statistics reflect that relationship. Industry is also prominent in Murray but just asthe university serves a wide geographical area so too do the job opportunities available. Thesestatistics are telling for the ten square miles that encompass the actual city of Murray, but thecommunity of Murray extends far beyond those borders and has a great affect on our students and theoverall ‘health’ of the area. Murray Independent School District has a long history of tradition and excellence in academicachievement of its students. Growing up in a district that failed to prepare students for the future andprovide opportunities for all, the achievement in Murray has always been evident to me. The statisticsI provided are specifically for Murray High School and give a good snapshot of the district as a wholeas well. The diversity reflects that of the community and is rather limited. Although many types ofstudents exist the overwhelming majority of students are white. In addition very few of the studentsin the high school fall into a special population and are identified as either special education or giftedstudents. Perhaps most surprising to me was the dropout rate, or lack thereof. Murray has been andcontinues to be extremely successful in retaining students, so much so that the handful of at riskstudents are easily identified and served by all staff members. Also surprising to me was the highpercentage of students that went on to college, 88%. Although this may seem like a positive number Ithink it would be interesting to know how many of those students are actually successful in collegeand afterwards in finding a career and or job.
Academically Murray High has shown improvement on test scores throughout the years at arather constant rate. As shown in the graphs above their scores are also typically above the stateaverages in all areas. Perhaps contributing to this is the low student to teacher ratio and fair amountof parental involvement. Finally, I was surprised that the free and reduced lunch rate for the schoolholds at around 38%, which is low, compared to neighboring schools and districts. This number hasincreased over the years and has certainly affected the student population and considerations forteachers. Overall, Murray High School and the community of Murray have a very positive educationenvironment. Despite unemployment and salary rates, education is deeply embedded in thiscommunity and the importance of educating students is alive and well. I believe educators typicallycompare their own educational experience with their current situation and or school, and I am noexception. Growing up in community with an extremely high unemployment rate, large level ofpoverty, and much more diversity than Murray I was a first hand witness to a failing school district.My high school freshman class started with over 400 students and ended with about 205 walkingacross the stage four years later. It is comforting to see such a strong connection between thecommunity of Murray and my school district and also to know that the drive to continue to improve issomething that we live out every day.