Smokey Barn News December 12, 2013
A message from Chris Causey: Supervisor of Accountability Robertson County Schools
I am excited to share not only the awesome past of Robertson County Schools, but also the innovative direction in which the district is moving. Contrary to what you may have read in other articles, Robertson County Schools are being successful and improving at an accelerated rate. A few weeks ago, the Tennessee State Department of Education released its annual report card for Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies. Please note the following grades that were earned by Robertson County.
In the table above, you will see that in only three years, Robertson County Schools have gone from earning 2 B’s and 2 C’s in Achievement to 2 A’s and 2 B’s. In Growth, we have increased from a D to a B in Reading and erased all D’s from our Report Card. All of our schools, from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade, now have extra time and support, plus enrichment for all achievement levels. Additionally, this year’s senior class has already surpassed the class of 2013 in ACT scores as well as in the percentage of students reaching the college and career readiness benchmarks determined by ACT. Our graduation rate is 93.4% which is over 7% higher than the state average. As a district, we are proud of the progress our students are showing.
I know that many of you are curious regarding the number and types of assessments that our students are taking this year. The assessments being taken this year, not only give teachers information that guides classroom instruction, but also prepare our students for the transition to Common Core State Standards and the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments.
Many of you have heard about the Common Core State Standards that have been adopted by a majority of our United States. I believe that Dr. Jared Bigham, a fellow educator in Southeast Tennessee said it best when he stated, “The Common Core State Standards are goals and benchmarks that define what students should know and be able to do at the end of each year in Math and English. They emphasize skills that students need for today’s challenges, the ability to communicate clearly, solve problems, and think critically. The standards spell out what students should be able to do but they do not set the curriculum or tell teachers what materials they must use. Teachers have the flexibility to plan units and lessons and deliver engaging lessons to students in whatever way best suits the students they’re serving.”
Much of the information that you may have heard regarding these standards is not based on fact, and many of the same arguments against the Common Core are simply rehashed rebuttals from a few years ago when Tennessee set its own higher standards for students.
I am the father of a 4th grade and a 7th grade student both of whom attend Robertson County Schools, and as a parent, I want them to learn at a high level. I don’t want them to struggle, but more importantly, I also don’t want them to settle for mediocrity.
As parents, we must realize that our students will not only be competing against other Tennessee students for scholarships, but they will also be competing for the next generation of available jobs against students both nationally and internationally. Ask yourself as I have, why is it that we encourage our students to be ‘the best’ on the field, court, or diamond, but we are willing to settle for ‘good enough’ in the classroom?
As a concerned parent and an educator, I am asking that you first and foremost, support the Robertson County Schools administrators, teachers, assistants, and students, and all others that share in the education of Robertson County students.
Secondly, I ask that you stay informed about the changes in your child’s scholastic requirements and progress. Feel free to contact me at (615)384-5588 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information about state assessments, Common Core State Standards, or your child’s education in general. We are in a pivotal and exciting time in Tennessee Education.
Our students are already proving that they can meet the new curriculum challenges. With our support and their continued focus, they can reach the highest goals they choose to set for themselves and their future.
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