• SCS leaders discuss early literacy proposal that would make it tough for 2nd graders

    By: Siobhan Riley


    SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. - The chief academic officer for Shelby County Schools talked about the early literacy proposal that would make it tough for 2nd graders to move on to the next level if they aren't ready.

    At Shelby County Schools, district leaders told FOX13 parents need to monitor how often their kids are using these electronic devices and make sure their kids spend more time picking up a book or a newspaper.

    It’s the first step to making sure children know how to read.

    SCS Chief Academic Officer, Antonio Burt, went into detail about the early literacy proposal. According to TN Ready, nearly three-quarters of third graders are reading below grade level.

    If students don’t meet eight of 12 criteria’s, they would have to go to summer school. If the criteria still aren’t met by the end of the first quarter, kids would have to repeat the second grade.  

    “We’re going to ensure that kids walk into 3rd grade where accountability is an all-time high, that they’re at or above grade level,” said Burt.

    Last week, we told you parents were in favor of the proposed policy. The eight of 12 criteria that would allow kids to be promoted to the 3rd grade include passing report card grades in English each quarter.

    Students would also have to pass assessments that measure growth in reading readiness. 

    FOX13 asked Burt what he had to say to parents who wouldn’t be in favor of this. He responded, “Parents, I understand what this challenge may be, but understand from a district perspective how we are making it our priority to over communicate with parents.”

    Burt said the district will have constant monthly quarterly updates with parents, the research department will develop a dashboard that allows the central office to know how individual schools are performing. 

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    He said parents must do their part too. “If you’re riding in a car, have kids call out certain things that they see to associate objects with the word.”

    School board member Stephanie Love said although the policy only focuses on 2nd graders, she thinks the district should consider a plan of action for all grade levels.  

    “I think this is a first step in the right direction is one that if we get it right in K-2, then those other grades wouldn’t be an issue in years to come,” Burt said.

    Some parents argue that the proposal could put a lot of stress on the student. The proposed policy could go into effect next school year as a trial run.

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