State’s new school letter grade system up for discussion at Nashville town hall

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — State education leaders will host a town hall in Nashville Wednesday about a new measurement for how well Tennessee’s public schools are serving students. They want families, teachers, and other stakeholders to join the discussion on best practices for setting up an A-F letter grade system for schools.

This goes back to 2016 when a new law required that the department develop a school letter grading system beginning in 2017-2018. It’s to provide parents and families with information that shows how public schools are performing. However, testing administration issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed a roll-out of school letter grades.

“When we think about what our goal is at the department, what we know about our goals for schools districts, teachers all across the state, we really want to provide all kids with a high quality education that will give them everything they need to be successful after they graduate,” said Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Chief of Staff Chelsea Crawford during a town hall in Chattanooga.

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Now the ball is rolling once again as the department holds these town hall discussions across the state.

“As we move forward to implement that legislation we really want to hear about things that should be represented by an A. What do we think that A or B or C should encompass,” said Crawford. “What assumptions do we believe that parents or taxpayers might make when they see a particular letter grade.”

Leaders say that as students return to classrooms from summer break, Tennessee schools and districts need clear information on how they will be measured this fall.

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“I think one of the things that I really like about the accountability system that we haven’t yet gotten to experience is that any school can earn an A. And I think that’s a really important piece that I want to carry over into our new grading system,” said Shannon Moody, one of the attendees at the Chattanooga town hall. “Otherwise I think we’re grading schools based on the demographic of who are in the schools and we’re not really telling parents about what is really happening in the school.”

Wednesday’s town hall in Nashville will be held at the Ellington Ag Center Ed Jones Auditorium. It’s located at 440 Hogan Road and runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The town hall will also be livestreamed here.

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