Friday, July 19, 2024
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Parents, Teachers More Prepared For Retention Year Two

Year two of the third-grade retention law has been a much smoother process for many parents and educators because of clearer expectations and more communication.

That according to Jackson County Director of Schools Jason Hardy who said when the law was rolled out last year, it lacked clarity. He said when parents receive their students’ TCAP scores later this month, they are more likely to know what comes next. He said teachers have helped parents track performance throughout the year to help them form expectations for how their students will score.

“We know kind of the criteria that they’re looking for, and we know the options that they’ll have,” Hardy said. “Which is probably the most important thing, is the options that they have going forward, where it’s not a ‘Oh my goodness, now what,’ it’s an ‘Alright, we can prepare for this and we know if our student doesn’t meet these expectations, we do know what our options are.'”

Hardy said through monitoring in-class performance and benchmark testing, teachers have met with parents to find ways to fill in gaps for students who need it. He said parents with students on the cusp of retention may already have plans in place for TCAP retakes or the Summer Accelerated Learning program, just in case.

“At the end of the year when the TCAP comes, I don’t think it’s near as much a surprise for these third-grade parents as it would have been before this law came into action,” Hardy said. “You know, they’re paying a lot more attention.”

Hardy said the students already took a Universal Reading Screener that gives third-graders who scored above a certain threshold an automatic promotion to fourth grade at year’s end, regardless of TCAP scores. He said as the state works to recoup possible learning loss brought about by the pandemic, the district is adjusting quickly to the new system.

“Nobody really knew what to expect last year,” Hardy said. “So, now, having a year under our belt, we can kind of track these kids all year long. Not that we’re going to go out on a limb and tell a kid that we think they’re going to make it or not make it, but we’ve got a pretty good idea of where they should place.”

He said when scores testing data comes in Monday, district leaders will be getting on the phone with parents to make sure they have a plan.