TN schools adjust to life after No Child Left Behind - WSMV Channel 4

TN schools adjust to life after No Child Left Behind

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Times are changing for every public school in Tennessee. Beginning next year, there will be a new way to judge the best and worst schools in the state.

And some schools that aren't making the grade are now getting a huge financial boost to help lift test scores.

Brick Church Middle School is about to go through a massive transformation, so Gov. Bill Haslam chose the school as the site to sign into law the transformation that will impact every Tennessee school.

"I couldn't be more grateful or proud of our state for pulling this off," Haslam said.

Schools will now have to show a 3 percent gain in student performance and close the achievement gap among minority groups and income levels. If not, the lowest 5 percent of schools will either be placed in the special state-run school district or a special innovation zone similar to the one Metro Nashville Public Schools operates now for its lowest-performing schools.

"We want to measure improvement in students. We do think it's important that if a teacher does a great job of bringing low achieving students up, that should be recognized," Haslam said.

But to help those under-performing Metro Schools get back on the right track, the seven schools will share $12.4 million in federal funding. That money will help provide the tools and time to facilitate a rigorous turnaround schedule.

"We're hoping the funding will give them a little bit of a turbo boost," said Kevin Huffman, with the Tennessee Department of Education. "Some of the money will go to the district, but most will go to into the schools themselves to help pay for extended learning time, technology, things like that."

For schools getting the money, like Brick Church Middle, the expectations are running extremely high.

"We've committed, as part of this grant, to double the rate of increase in achievement levels in these schools each year over what the rest of the schools in the district will make," said Alan Coverstone, with Metro Schools.

Under the new system, the schools performing at the highest levels will be recognized as reward schools.

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