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SCS explains strategic plan to get students back on track after TCAP scores reveal setbacks

TCAP test scores were historically below average for Shelby County Schools. Grades 3-5 saw an overall 17% decrease in grades from 2019 to 2021.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s no surprise last year's TCAP test scores were historically below average for Shelby County Schools. 

Grades 3-5 saw an overall 17% decrease in grades from 2019 to 2021, with math seeing the biggest drop at 24.7%. Now, SCS leaders said they are focusing on getting students back on track by starting with lower grade levels. 

"We are going to be monitoring and measuring our students throughout the entire school year," Jaron Carson SCS chief academic officer said. "We've done a good job of laying out an assessment calendar that will give us the data that we need to kinda build systems around our students for us to monitor learning loss and the growth the student should have this year."

Top of the list is strengthening literacy in K-12, this will be done through summer learning academies, after-school tutoring, and reading help. Another big piece of the puzzle is reducing the student-teacher ratio. SCS said they plan to add full-time assistants in K-2 classrooms. 

The third part focuses on student readiness, expanding advanced placement options, and dual credit opportunities. Providing more act prep and spending more on extracurricular classes are also a priority.

The district said one of the biggest setbacks last year was the challenges that came with virtual learning. They said students were less engaged and getting less one-on-one attention they need. They hope this changes by being back in the classroom, though that presents its own changes. 

"Teachers were excited about being back in the building. We do realize this is just a very unusual situation because we are not out of the pandemic. So, we are constantly offering our teacher's support," Angela  Whitelaw, SCS deputy superintendent of schools and academic support said. 

Shelby County Schools said getting back on track won't happen overnight. The growth plan will be implemented in phases over the next school year. 

You can read the full plan here