More assistance available for state school systems

(TDE/Governor’s office release) Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn announced more of the state’s continued efforts to assist families, teachers, and districts as the 2020-2021 school year begins.

New Dashboard
The department released a dashboard that provides information on each school’s status as offering in-person learning, virtual learning, or a hybrid. The dashboard is updated daily and can be found here.

Child Wellbeing Check Toolkit
The department is releasing a child wellbeing check toolkit today, to ensure that the needs of Tennessee children are met during and after extended periods away from school and to empower local communities to meaningfully engage in ways that support child wellbeing. Guidelines established in this document are encouraged to be enacted during any period of extended school closure, through virtual school models, and when students return to school after extended periods away.

The department is setting aside $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to provide regional support for districts in implementing safe and healthy practices in schools. Details of how districts may apply will be shared with directors of schools in the coming days. In addition, a CDC grant will fund eight regional staff will be hired to support this work across the state.

Assessment Supports
Earlier this week, the department released Schoolnet, the online platform to house the department’s suite of free and optional assessment supports for the 2020-21 school year. It is essential that school leaders, educators, and parents can reliably benchmark student progress and receive actionable data for the coming school year. The department is providing Schoolnet to districts based off feedback and requests from Tennessee teachers desiring a free, optional assessment platform that will house formative assessments, start of year checkpoints, and currently released TCAP items. 

Schoolnet will allow teachers, schools, and districts to create their own formative tasks and assessments for students to use while providing immediate, actionable data to help inform instruction. The platform contains innovative, optional assessment tools aligned to Tennessee standards including:

  • Start of Year Checkpoints: These are intended to provide districts with information on student performance at the beginning of the year and help inform educators about student readiness for the year ahead;
  • Mock Interim Assessments: These will be complete blueprint-aligned assessments that mirror the current TCAP summative assessments to give information on student performance in advance of end of year testing;
  • TCAP Item Bank: This will serve as a central location for released items from TCAP assessments for all tested grades and subject areas. Items will continue to be added regularly;
  • Teacher-created Formative Assessments: Using the TCAP Item Bank, educators will be able to create their own formative tasks and assessments for students to use while providing immediate data to help inform instruction.

As part of the Best for All strategic plan, these supports are part of the department’s innovative assessment initiative. Instructional videos, help documents, and how-to resources for using the platform are available at https://tn.mypearsonsupport.com. More details on each of these resources are available in the department’s one-pager. 

For access to additional resources related to reopening schools, visit the Tennessee Department of Education’s Reopening webpage:https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus/reopening-guidance.html.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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