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Putnam School Director Appointed To State Grading Group; Tight Deadline

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam School Director Appointed To State Grading Group; Tight Deadline

Putnam County Schools Director Corby King appointed to the Tennessee Department of Education’s School Letter Grades Working Group.

The purpose of the group is to review publicly submitted comments and make recommendations on how the calculations for each letter grade for schools will be decided. Two meetings have already happened, the third is scheduled for Thursday. The last meeting is on October 20.

The state has said it wants the system rolled out by November. King said he learned of his appointment to the group the day before the first scheduled meeting.

“It is very rushed,” King said. “It is concerning. I’m not real sure where we are going yet, but I hope to learn more. And that’s also part of being on the committee, just hoping to gain better insight and direction the Department is going with the letter grades.”

The new system originally to be rolled out in 2017. Both COVID and state testing problems delayed the rollout. The system is designed for accountability with each school in the state receiving a letter grade of A through F based based on criteria that have yet to be determined.

“I think now it’s like people are saying enough’s enough,” King said. “We’re supposed to have this letter grading in place, and its probably part of the rush. Again it’s complicated. There’s been so many issues with tests and test vendors, and that makes school systems nervous. It’s hard to have a lot of trust in the process with the way its being pushed.”

King will be part of a group going through 300 comments collected across 10 different town hall meetings, emails, and letters.

“I think its important that our voices are heard,” King said. “Its important to be part of the process. I don’t think that its fair to complain about something if we had an opportunity to share. When we have those opportunities to speak up and share where we are, then I think we should take advantage of that.”

There will be a total of five meetings of the School Letter Grades Working Group.


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