(WJHL) — The first round of TCAP exams under Tennessee’s third-grade retention law is now over.
Third graders who do not score proficient on the English Language Arts section must repeat the grade, go to tutoring throughout the next school year, or take summer classes.
Both Kingsport City Schools and Greeneville City Schools saw an increase in summer school enrollment this year compared to last year.
Kingsport City Schools currently has 712 students enrolled in summer learning so far. That number is about 12–15% of the student population, according to Rhonda Stringham, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
“It’s been across the board.,” said Stringham “It’s not just been in third grade, but yes, third-grade retention, I feel like has influenced some parents to enroll their child in summer learning as a safety net.”
In Greeneville City Schools, over 300 students are enrolled in summer learning with numbers for third graders being higher than last year.
“We are about 20 students higher with enrollment for that particular grade level,” said Shelia Newland, teaching and learning coordinator. “And I do think it’s because we’ve reached out and encouraged that particular grade level to go ahead and enroll early to be prepared.”
Kingsport City Schools also asked parents to enroll certain students just in case.
“We have invited a bunch of children that we feel like were right around the border,” said Stringham. “And so they’ve already been invited and many of their parents have already signed them up.”
These school districts won’t receive third-grade TCAP scores until May 19 but they’ve already been preparing for summer learning.
“We had groups of teachers and our instructional design specialists and our curriculum people,” said Stringham. “We’ve had them all working on the curriculum to help develop that out. And so we started way back in January getting all of that ready.”
“I have found that our numbers with staffing is pretty much the same that we were able to utilize last year,” said Newland.
“We love to provide a small ratio and work with the small groups to make sure when we’re working with learning gaps that we can get the most out of our time,” Newland added.
Third graders also have a chance to retake the English Language Arts portion of the TCAP if they did not score proficient at first.
“The state has promised us that because these tests, the retakes are done on the computer, that they will get us those raw scores back within 48 hours,” said Stringham. “So I’m kind of excited about that, but I’m nervous about 8-year-olds taking their TCAPS online because they’ve never done that before. And so that may be something new for them.”
Registration for summer learning has already closed for Greeneville City Schools, but they still have slots available.
“We’ve reached out to let our parents know that they are welcome to call any of their elementary schools, middle schools, if they did not have a chance to register,” said Newland. “And then those working in our schools that help register students certainly can help get them registered for our summer camps.”
Registration is not yet full in Kingsport City Schools.
“Parents probably need to know that if they want their child to go to summer learning, they need to enroll them now,” said Stringham.
Both summer learning programs are free for students with breakfast and lunch provided for free as well. Bus transportation is also provided for students.
“Our teachers have really been working hard to plan for good experiences,” said Stringham. “And so we know kids need to have that extra time in math and reading but they also need those fun experiences.”
“This is a great way to keep our students engaged, to provide that social time with their peers while still working on academics, but also a lot of hands-on and fun other activities that our teachers have planned,” said Newland.
Angela Buckles, the assistant director of schools in Sullivan County, also reached out and said 515 students have enrolled in summer learning and that it’s higher than last year.
Buckles said third-grade numbers are not yet high.
“However, we are anticipating the third-grade numbers might potentially increase once TCAP scores come back,” said Buckles.
For Kingsport City Schools, summer learning for kindergarten through 8th grade begins on June 5 and runs through June 30.
For Greeneville City Schools, summer learning for kindergarten through 8th grade begins May 30 and runs through June 22.