Blount Education Initiative urges parental involvement in response to state report card

The Tennessee Department of Education just released its annual comprehensive report card on pre-K through 12th grade education, including state, district and school-level information on achievement, demographics and discipline.

With results now in hand, the Blount Education Initiative urges parents to tune in to the potential needs of their child’s school as indicated in the report card results.

“Report cards are a good opportunity for educators, parents and community members to look at what’s working, what’s not and how schools can re-evaluate a variety of factors in relationship to the new student standards,” said Bonny Millard, executive director of the Blount Education Initiative.

“Parents should work actively and in an informed way with their school’s teachers and administrators to help schools gain improvements as well as to maintain strong performance gains already in progress.”

Within the three school systems in Blount County:

Alcoa City School System had all three schools meet the federal benchmarks and their status was listed as “Good Standing;”

Blount County School System had 17 of 20 schools meet the federal benchmarks, and those 17 were listed as “Good Standing;”

Maryville City School System had six of seven schools meet the federal benchmarks, and those six were listed as “Good Standing.”

The Tennessee Education Improvement Act of 1992 established accountability standards for all public schools in the state and required the Department of Education to produce a report card for the public to assess each year. This year, the method of calculating scores for the report cards has been revised to allow for a transition to the new standards and assessments required by the Tennessee Diploma Project.

Schools, school systems and the state must meet proficiency benchmarks in nine subgroups, including five race/ethnicity groups; students with disabilities; limited English proficient students; economically disadvantaged students; and the school as a whole.

“It is important to understand that teachers cannot do all the work alone to make sure their students are academically proficient in math, reading and language arts,” said Matt Murray, BEI president. “The responsibility for a student’s performance also rests with the student himself or herself and with parents who exert tremendous influence over a child’s attitude toward education and a desire to succeed.”

In fact, a May 2009 survey by Blount Education Initiative of graduating seniors in all three local school systems asked the question, “Who influenced you the most in your decision to complete high school?” 75 percent of the students surveyed ranked parents as the most influential, with eight percent of students saying grandparents were the most influential.

To access Report Card data in its entirety, visit http://tn.gov/education/reportcard/index.shtml.

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