This year’s TCAP data reveals a great deal about the perseverance of our students and teachers, despite the many challenges that the global pandemic presented over the past 24 months. In a year of uncertainty, the Franklin Special School District maintained its long history of outperforming the state in every grade level and subject area. In fact, the district as a whole outperformed the proficiency percentage of the state by double digits in every core content area.
- English/Language Arts = 17% higher than the state proficiency percentage
- Math = 20% higher
- Science = 17% higher
- Social Studies = 23% higher
“Our exceptionally effective, knowledgeable, and dedicated teachers, staff, and administrators – with the unwavering support of our families and Board – have a laser-like focus on ensuring all students learn at the highest levels,” said FSSD Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden. “Further, the FSSD’s emphasis on high-quality instructional materials, research-based instructional strategies, and data analysis for continuous improvement have yielded these extremely positive results. These positive results are truly reflective of our teachers and support staff, all of whom were determined to overcome the numerous challenges of the pandemic to effectively teach and nurture every child each day.”
As those fundamentals were established, teachers assessed students’ academic levels and tailored instruction of new standards accordingly, as well as targeted knowledge gaps that arose as a result of the 2020 spring closure.
The FSSD proudly highlights the following academic achievements reflected by the 2021-2022 TCAP scores:
- The FSSD scored well above the state in all tested subject areas at every grade level.
- A few areas exceeded the percentage of students from 2021 TCAP who scored at the Met Expectations or Exceeded Expectations levels, including ELA at all grade levels, scoring even higher than pre-pandemic test results.
- 4th grade ELA rose 7% over last year, and 21% higher than the state average.
- 7th grade math scores increased from 40% met or exceeded expectations in 2021 to 49% met or exceeded expectations in 2022, and math scores for all students rose from 51% met or exceeded expectations in 2021 to 53% met or exceeded expectations in 2022.
- Science and Social Studies grew, respectively, to 60% and 67% proficient, an increase for both from last year’s results.
- The district has placed a high priority on ELA/Literacy by defining it as one the four main goals of the District Strategic Plan, Reach 2024. As such, it is very encouraging to see that two of our largest areas of growth (4th grade ELA and 8th grade ELA) occurred in ELA/Literacy scores.
- While formal rankings are not provided to districts, analysis shows that the FSSD is among the top 10 of Tennessee districts for achievement across all subject areas.
The 2021-2022 TCAP results also reveal the extra support and dedicated efforts of our students and teachers as they worked diligently to fill the gaps in students’ learning as a result of the pandemic. In areas that need even more support, Snowden said a specific emphasis will be placed on personalized, skillful instruction and the consistent implementation of high-quality instructional materials. “In addition to the strategies mentioned above, we will continue to utilize our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to collaborate and determine what strategies/methodologies are working best for groups and individual students,” he said. “We will also continue to utilize student data to drive instructional practice as we focus on maximizing the development of each child.”
Long before TCAP tests were administered, the district assessed students throughout the school year to provide a tailored approach to learning loss. The following strategies were implemented to help students rise to the challenge of making up for pandemic losses:
- Free Summer Learning Camp for priority students in grades 1-8 as part of the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act, to provide additional learning opportunities essential to accelerate students’ educational growth. Summer Learning Camp featured STREAM Mini-Camps, the curriculum of which shored up Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STREAM) concepts in an interactive environment, encouraging students to explore and problem-solve by analyzing situations and trying different methods to find a solution.
- After-school tutoring opportunities in all grades with certified teachers and transportation home.
- United Way’s Raise Your Hand after-school tutoring with trained volunteers for reading and math support for elementary students.
- Increased phonics instruction for foundational literacy. FSSD early grades teachers were trained in a phonics-based approach as part of the Reading 360 initiative, sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Education.
- Renewed emphasis on social emotional learning (SEL) and mental health supports. The FSSD understands the profound effect of mental health issues on some students and we now have certified therapists with offices in every school through a partnership with Mercy Community Healthcare as an added layer to our counseling programs. There is also a therapy dog in every school to help children cope during times of emotional distress.
- For the 2021-22 school year, intervention paraprofessionals were hired to focus on supporting students who experienced learning loss as a result of the pandemic. Teachers worked with the interventionists on providing critical and timely support to students so they could bridge gaps.
We are proud to have achieved a 100% participation rate on state assessments. In early August, the state will release growth calculations and preliminary designations for schools and districts, which will include reward school status and preliminary letter grades for the district and each school.
“We are thrilled but not surprised by the resilience, determination, and most of all, the excellence of our educators, staff, and students who prevailed, undeterred by a most challenging school year,” Snowden said. “We are also anxious to see the TVAAS (growth) results when those data are released later this summer! We strongly believe those growth results will be positive just as these achievement data were. As always, our school district operates from a focus on continuous improvement so we will move forward to build upon these and other successes as we begin the 2022-2023 school year.”