JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Johnson City school leaders say they’re anticipating a threefold increase in the number of third graders in their summer school program this year due to requirements of the state’s third-grade retention law.
The law requires students who do not meet a state-mandated threshold on the English and Language Arts portion of the TCAP test to participate in summer school or intensive tutoring during the school year or both.
If students fail to demonstrate “adequate growth” at the end of these interventions, they have to repeat a grade.
Johnson City Schools Director of Accountability and School Improvement Robbie Anderson told school board members Monday that she expects 40-45% of the district’s third graders will fail to meet state expectations.
Not all of those students will have to attend summer school, said Robbie, as some are exempt from the law, like some English language learners. In addition, parents will have an opportunity to appeal their child’s case, and students can retake the TCAP assessment in late May.
“We think by the time summer school starts we will have about 30% of our students in some type of intervention,” Anderson said.
District Superintendent Steve Barnett told News Channel 11, “we’re probably looking at three times the number of students that we have in summer school for third grade.”
Barnett said he estimated 200-220 students will score below the state’s threshold.
The district will face a tight turnaround to notify parents and students about required summer school.
Barnett said the district is scheduled to take TCAP assessments in late April and receive results in mid-May. The district’s summer school is tentatively set to begin on June 1, at each of the district’s elementary schools except Towne Acres, which will combine with Fairmont Elementary.
“Everyone’s done everything they can do to roll out a communication and communicate with families,” Barnett said. “There really shouldn’t be anybody that should be surprised that this could be a possibility for their third graders.”
He said the district has sent letters and phone calls to parents of third graders, in addition to holding campus-wide and individual meetings with parents.