The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has released district and school level data and status designations for the 2018-2019school year. The Accountability Protocol that is used to determine a district or school level status is based on several components such as student achievement and growth for all students and subgroups, chronic absenteeism, English Language ProficiencyAssessment (ELPA) for our students that English is not their first language, and Ready Graduates. In previous years,the Ready Graduate indicator has been limited to only ACT data (composite score of21 and higher) to measure postsecondary readiness. For 2018-19 school year accountability, this indicator included additional criteria that are used to predict seamless transition into postsecondary and theopportunity to secure high-quality employment.
This indicator also aligns to the governor's initiative, Drive to 55, which focuses on improved economic success in Tennessee through increased opportunities to earn postsecondary credentials.
The TDOE Accountability Protocol has several different status levels that a district can be recognized for based on the outcome of the above mentioned indicators. Districts' performance across these indicators earns one of five possible dete1minations:
• In need ofimprovement
"I am very pleased to let you know that Bradley County Schools has been given the performance determination of Advancing. This designation means that we are meeting our growth expectations that were set by TDOE. This is the 2nd consecutive year that we have achieved this status," said Director of Schools, Dr. Linda Cash.
Officials said, "One of our major focuses overthe past few years has been on reducing the number of students who are considered ' Chronically Absent'. This refers to students who have missed more than 10% of the school year regardless of the reason. What this basically means, is that students are missing approximately 17 days of school during the school year. Weknow that students must be present to achieve and it is very hard for a studentto make up what they miss by not being in the classroom. We strive to make our classrooms engaging with students actively participating in their learning and you cannot make up the instruction and the conversations around the topics being discussed. When we first began tracking our students who were CA, we found that 16% of our students were chronically absent. This is a challenge as it also relates to achievement and growth scores, graduation rate, and ACT. Also, the habits students develop now carry over in to the work force and their work ethic. During the 2017-2018 school year, 14.3% of our students were chronically absent. This past year, 2018-2019, we were able to reduce that number to 11.2%. Our goal is for our district and our schools to be below 10% chronically absent so this will remain a focus.
"Preparing our students to be Ready Graduates, ensures they are leaving high school with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and the workforce. A part of this work is our graduation rate. Our graduation rate continues to increase and we're anticipating it to be the highest it has been since 2013 when Tennessee began the Tennessee Diploma Project and increased the graduation requirements and introduced more rigorous standards. The 2018-2019 final graduation rate has not been officially released at this time, but we look forward to sharing this good news with you. This increased graduation rate is a testament to the work being done by teachers and students in schools across the district. This is the first year that our district has been given information regarding the percent of students who are considered Ready Graduates. This is lag yem· data meaning this information is for students who graduated in the year 2017-2018. 47.2 % of our students were considered Ready Graduates from that graduating class and we anticipate that number to be much higher for our students who graduated in May, 2019. We are also waiting on our final ACT scores for our graduating class of 2018 and are still focused on reaching our district goal of 21 by 2020. We are growing students and building futures in Bradley County Schools.
"Our English Learner population continues to grow and we are tracking our progress with the WIDA ACCESS Assessment. These students may be new to this country and have language barriers. In 2016-2017, we had 37.7% of EL students reaching the growth standard for that assessment. In 2018-2019, we had 49.2% of students who met the growth standard so we are making significant progress in supporting some of our newest students. ELPA is a part of our accountability dete1mination as we mentioned previously.
"Now that we are beginning to receive our TNReady scores, we will begin the process of analyzing our data and prioritizing our needs. This reflective practice will shape our instructional strategies as we refine our system strategic plan. We are still waiting for other data to be released to develop the full picture of where we stand as a district and we are also waiting for TDOE to release state level data on Aug.15 to see how we compare. Once that data has been released, we will share that information as well.
"We do have some school level determinations that we are celebrating. 'Bradley County Schools is ecstatic to have three schools that received Reward Status for the 2018-2019 school year,' said Director of Schools, Dr. Linda Cash. The Tennessee Department of Education provides annual school accountability designations that reflect performance and growth. Included in these designations are Reward schools. Reward schools for the 2018-19 school year are those with an overall accountability score greater than or equal to 3.1 out of a possible 4 points. Each of these schools has also been recognized as a Reward School in a previous year. We want to recognize the dedication and perseverance of our teachers, principals, support staff, students and parents at Michigan Avenue Elementary School, Norh Lee Elementary School and Oak Grove Elementary School. Congratulations on this identification for exemplifying student success in achievement and growth. We applaud your school's hard work and student accomplishments!"