Report: 64 percent leaving Metro elementary schools below proficient in reading

Metro Nashville Public Schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Nashville Public Schools has been urged to adopt strategies for literacy intervention after a report cited that 64 percent of students leaving elementary schools in the district are below proficient in reading.

The 2015 education report card was released Tuesday afternoon.

A committee measured the academic progress of the district using the Academic Performance Framework, a tool developed by Metro Schools using test and survey results to categorize the performance of each of its schools.

The report was compiled from more than 750 hours of interviews and data analysis by a panel of 23 business leaders, education advocates, and public school stakeholders assisted by staff of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

It’s also noted in the report that Metro Schools have made “significant progress” since 2010 when the state adopted rigorous academic standards, but disappointment was expressed that district-wide improvement stalled during the 2014-2015 academic school year.

“Metro Schools continues to have pockets of success, especially at the high school level, but those gains have been countered by an increase in the number of students and schools at the lowest performance level,” said Jewell Winn, co-chair of the committee.

Five policy recommendations have been suggested:

1. Initiate a dramatic program of intervention for students in grades 1-3 currently reading below grade level.
2. Increase collaboration between zoned, charter and choice schools insuring that best practices are shared system-wide, regardless of the type of school. Bring back the school district’s annual best practices summit and increase interaction between principals of different types of schools.
3. Urge the state of Tennessee to strengthen the existing pre-K program by requiring school districts to re-apply for early childhood grants, along with providing a plan for ensuring high quality.
4. Encourage the state of Tennessee to offer first-year teachers a broader range of benefits packages, with savings to be directed toward increasing teacher salaries.
5. MNPS should enlist the services of human resources experts from the business community to conduct an independent audit of MNPS human capital policies to address concerns of principals and to make the school district more competitive for teaching talent on a national scale.

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