UPDATE: Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is in Chattanooga this week to talk about how to improve Hamilton County’s five lowest performing schools.
During her visit, Channel 3 had a chance to ask Commissioner McQueen about TN Ready test scores.
TN Ready made headlines again in May when results didn’t arrive in time to be included in report cards for students.
Commissioner McQueen says districts have received raw score data and those results have been in for several weeks.
She says end of course results should be ready soon.
“We are going to have statewide EOC results here in just a few days. Actually, we're hoping by mid- July to have the EOC results out and we'll be able to share those widely,” Commissioner McQueen told Channel 3.
She says she’s also expecting Value-Added Scores soon, which measure improvement from year to year.
In Hamilton County, the test was supposed to count as 10-percent of students’ final grades.
Instead, the average grade a student had in the class at the end of the year was used as their final grade.
“Districts had the opportunity to wait and hold their report cards until they got their raw score data and we had multiple districts that did do that. Some chose based on legislation that they did not have to include them if they weren't received in that five day period of the school year. One hundred forty-six districts made different decisions," said Commissioner McQueen.
When asked if scores are on the upswing, Tennessee’s top education official said we’ll have to wait and see.
"We'll have our statewide results on EOC available here in just a little bit,” said Commissioner McQueen.
Previously, Hamilton County Schools told Channel 3 that just because test scores weren’t back in time for report cards did not mean they wouldn’t be used. The data collected from the tests will help with instruction in the classroom, according to officials.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Education Commissioner is in Chattanooga this week.
Commissioner Candice McQueen is in town to talk about how to improve Hamilton County’s lowest performing schools.
The five priority schools in Hamilton County are Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Woodmore Elementary.
They are among the lowest-performing schools in the state. Commissioner McQueen says she knows they can “do better.”
“One of the reasons why I'm here is to listen. It's very critical if we are going to have a partnership that we trust each other and that when I hear feedback I'm taking that to heart and trying to see how we can incorporate that feedback for improvement. It's also important that they know the state is real people and that we have the best interest of students at heart and that's why we're here,” said Commissioner McQueen.
She is meeting with educators, school board members, parents and community leaders to discuss how to improve the schools.
McQueen says the five schools were first identified as low performing schools in 2002 and haven’t seen growth since then. She says they need “urgent” progress.
School board member Karitsa Jones grew up in Chattanooga, attended Woodmore Elementary and represents District 5, one of the districts that is impacted.
“I know what they were and I know what they can be so yes, it is a pull on my heartstrings. I'm very passionate about seeing them thrive as they once did,” Jones told Channel 3.
The Hamilton County School Board is considering what’s called a “partnership zone” which means they’d pair state support with local solutions and work collaboratively to improve those five struggling schools. It is a way to avoid full state takeover.
According to McQueen, 2,300 children go to those schools and she says she is looking at what they need in the classroom, in the community and at home to make them successful.
“We are certainly going to dig deeply into what are those non-academic supports that we believe the community can provide that we can then provide around individual students and certainly in those individual schools and across those 5 schools as we think about the capacity building that we'll need to do,” said McQueen.
Commissioner McQueen met with new Hamilton County School Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, last week and had what she describes as a “healthy conversation” about what’s been happening in the district.
The series of roundtables will last all week and are by invitation only.
PREVIOUS STORY: Today Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen will be in Hamilton County today to talk with community members about improving the district's low-achieving schools.
Commissioner McQueen will host a series of community round-tables over the course of the week with school board members.
Officials say this will be an opportunity for the commissioner to answer questions about school improvement options, which are a partnership zone that would allow a cluster of schools to operate with additional autonomy and support, or a state achievement school district.
Officials say a decision on which school improvement option will move forward will be made later this summer
Those round-table discussions are not open to the public and are invitation only.