Photo: 89 Percent Of Students Who Enter Off-track In Kindergarten, Remain off-track Through Third Grade.
Photo Credit: Hamilton County Schools
Published March 12, 2021
[The Tennessee Conservative Staff] –
Hamilton County, TN – Hamilton County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, acknowledged the County, State and National problem with literacy in an update yesterday and highlighted Hamilton County’s plan for improvement.
“We have to, we must accelerate in the area of literacy and intervention,” said Johnson.
Johnson stated that combatting low-literacy rates are a national challenge and that 89 percent of students who enter off-track in kindergarten, remain off-track through third grade.
Hamilton County Schools actually fare better than the Tennessee state average.
In a TNReady comparison between the state average and Hamilton County, the state scored a 34.40% reading proficiency rate for 4th graders, while Hamilton County scored 38.4%.
And in a National Association of Education Progress (NAEP) comparison between the State and Nation, Tennessee ranked higher at 35% reading proficiency for 4th graders while the National average came in at 34%.
Johnson said, “I’m humbled to work for a School Board that in the midst of a global pandemic, in the midst of a tornado, in the midst of discord, they saw the need to accelerate in the area of literacy.”
Hamilton County Schools Literacy Action Steps
• Implement High-Quality Instructional Materials So Teachers Are Prepared To Support Literacy Growth
• Effectively Identify Interventions Students Need and Aligning High-Quality Tools and Resources
• Hire a Literacy Officer to Lead the District’s Work to Close the Literacy Gap (grant funded)
“With the first year of our new literacy curriculum, we must continue to support our teachers…we must also ensure that we support the needs of our individual students – training, resourcing and supporting with high quality tools and instruction,” Johnson said.
In January, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the implementation of Reading 360, a statewide initiative that will help to provide needed resources to school systems, teachers, and families to support literacy growth and to ensure that students are reading on grade level by the third grade.
The program is comprised of eight main components that include training opportunities and networking for teachers, online tutoring and supports for families, and a variety of supports to help school systems create and implement strong reading instruction.
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “Reading is the foundation for all learning, and focusing on developing strong reading skills in a student’s early years is essential for their education and success in life after high school. I am so proud that Tennessee is rightfully prioritizing this critical issue to ensure all of our students can get strong, phonics-based literacy instruction and be prepared for life beyond the classroom.”