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Thousands of parents are looking for the next step after 76% of MSCS third graders risk retention

The TCAP re-testing period ends May 26 for MSCS, but it has only been 1 month since students tested the first time, so parents are exploring other options.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of Memphis-Shelby County Schools parents are concerned about their child’s future after TCAP results were released.

More than three quarters of the district’s third grade students did not score proficient on the state’s reading test. Under the new state law, thousands could be at risk of being held back.

“Grandad I can read, I can read, let me show you,” said Damon Morris, recounting the words he heard time and time again from his grandson after learning he did not score proficiently on the TCAP.

This, just one of the voices of more than 5,000 third grade students in Memphis Shelby County Schools. Morris said this came as a shock, because his grandson appeared to be reading beyond his years.

“He was reading on a college level, those were the things that I observed,” said Morris.

For those at risk of repeating the fourth grade, there are options. One is scoring proficient or higher on a retake of the TCAP test. The retest period will complete Friday May 26 at MSCS. Families can also appeal to the State Department of Education. Students can also receive tutoring throughout their fourth grade year. Finally, students can go to summer school, but they will need to go to at least 90% of the sessions, and score 5% higher on a TCAP retake.

However, for Morris the last option is a big concern, especially since enrollment for the MSCS Summer Learning Academy has been closed for over a month.

“Now that you’ve waited for this to happen, how difficult will it be for you to hire additional staff, and teachers have made plans, you need tutors in place,” said Morris.

Outside of the school district, places like Libertas have their own summer school programs, which recently expanded its capacity.

“We at this point have projected to have almost 150 kids in our summer camp alone,” said Bob Nardo, Libertas Director, “This camp is open to kids throughout our neighborhood.”

The school has also partnered with the Southwest Tennessee Community College to encourage Memphians to help out with the academic progress of county students.

“Southwest now has a paid tutoring program, so just reach out, we would love to have you onboard,” said Nardo.

We reached out for a comment from MSCS for what the Summer Learning Academy will look like this year. They said they are still finalizing how many students will be attending, but they are confident there will be enough staff and space.

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