PHOTOS / JAMES EVANS Rutherford County Schools

By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools

Rutherford County Schools continues to rank among the best in Tennessee, based on the results of a redesigned annual report card released Tuesday by the Tennessee Department of Education.

The report ranks Rutherford County Schools as a Level 5 district overall, the highest score possible.

“We are generally pleased with our district’s performance and plan to use the results from the Report Card in our plans to further improve schools and to deliver unmatched opportunities for students,” Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said. “As parents are aware, Tennessee experienced challenges last spring with administering state tests using an online platform. As those issues are addressed, we hope to see additional gains moving forward.”

In addition to being ranked a Level 5 district, the report also shows Rutherford County more than doubled its “Annual Measurable Objective” with “chronically absent” students. The double AMO goal for chronic absenteeism called for Rutherford County to reduce its percentage to 9.4%. However, Rutherford County actually lowered its chronically absent rate to 9.2%.

The report also highlights Rutherford County’s graduation rate, which is now 95.6 percent, an increase of .3 percent from the previous year. The graduation rate is particularly impressive considering the district’s size as the fourth largest school district in Tennessee.

In addition to the high graduation percentage, the report also lists Rutherford County’s “Graduate Ready” rate as 42.7 percent, significantly above the state average of 35.8 percent.

Parents can view the full report card for Rutherford County and each of its schools here: https://reportcard.tnk12.gov.

While the Tennessee Department of Education has published a state report card for a number of years, the redesigned version includes a number of updates.

For the first time, the report card provides schools with ratings on up to six indicators designated in Tennessee Succeeds, the state’s ESSA plan. These indicators capture different aspects of school performance and include academic achievement, academic growth, chronic absenteeism, progress on English language proficiency, and graduation rate. The report card also includes a new measure called the Ready Graduate indicator that that looks for students’ readiness for college and career to let families know how students are being prepared for life after graduation.

The rating system provides a score of 0.0 to 4.0 on each indicator, similar to a GPA, with 4.0 being the highest. Parents can click through to see more information behind each rating, including how both the full student population and different student groups are performing. Ratings are based either on how well the school is doing overall or how much it improved over the last year; the school receives the higher of the two. The department has shared more information about the rating system and indicators, as well as context on how schools were rated in 2017-18, here.

Additional new features include a new full Spanish translation of the website, an opportunity for principals and superintendents to share messages about their schools, and a wealth of new metrics, including new details on the performance of different student groups and new data in areas like discipline and attendance. The department will continue to update and improve this tool in future years as it receives additional feedback, which families can share via the report card home page. To view the new report card, click here.

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