The Tennessee Department of Education
last week released its annual Report Card data on more than 130
school systems and more than 1,700 schools in Tennessee.
Overall, the Sweetwater City School
System did well.
That was no surprise to Sweetwater City
Director of Schools Dr. Melanie Miller, as the state had reported
back in the summer Sweetwater's school system was one of only 21
school systems in the state to earn "Exemplary" status as a top
performing school system.
"We are trending upward as a system," Miller said.
The Report Cards come out each fall and
include a myriad of data, including achievement scores and
value-added scores, which are designed to show how much students grow
academically in a year Those scores are based on a three-year
Much of this data is displayed in
letter grades in hopes of making it easier for the public to
Miller is happy to talk about the
school system's success, but she says the system must focus on the
school year at hand and can't live in past success for very long.
"We can't rest on that," Miller
said of last year's test results.
The city schools director said a number
of initiatives have been implemented in the city schools to help
students, including stronger intervention programs, professional
learning communities and more.
She credited the hard work by
principals, teachers, students and all the city school staff for the
solid gains academically.
While some parents and students might
not be overjoyed with a grade of C on a regular report card, Miller
said on the state's Report Card, it is meeting the national average,
though the city system strives to beat that average.
With a free and reduced lunch rate
approaching 80 percent in the city system, and both the county and
city system' per pupil expenditures below the state and national
averages, there is a lot to be proud of.
But there is always room for
improvement as well. Miller and city school officials are not happy
with the value-added D grade in reading and language arts as a
Miller said the intense focus on math
in the school system probably caused reading and language arts scores
Both local school systems will go into
more details about the Report Cards at School Board meetings. You can
access individual school scores and much more data online at