The audience stood in applause after Bradley County Board of Education members unanimously approved the resolution opposing a state-proposed teacher license policy in a roll call vote at the central office on Thursday evening.
Board member Charlie Rose made the motion to pass the resolution, and board member Chris Turner seconded.
The resolution is composed of 14 points of concern over using Tennessee Value Added Assessment System scores to evaluate the efficiency of teachers and one statement of resolution against the issuing, renewing or denial of teaching licenses based on the results of TVAAS scores. The scores are derived from the expectation of growth a student should show from one grade to the next.
Chairwoman Vicki Beaty thanked Rose and other members of the board for their diligence in developing the resolution, and then made the decision for a roll call vote.
Originally, the document held a signature line for only Beaty, but upon the decision for a roll call vote, board member Troy Weathers suggested that each of the members of the board sign the document showing their support.
Following the vote, Turner also thanked Rose for his leadership on the resolution and stated that next month all school boards across the state of Tennessee will discuss it at the delegate assembly to form a policy statement on behalf of their lobbying organization, the Tennessee School Boards Association.
Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel asked for direction on who should receive the resolution. Rose volunteered to send it out to all of the legislators, the County Commission, and all chairmen of school boards across Tennessee.
“This [tying teacher licensure renewal to TVAAS] is not a good thing for our teachers in the state of Tennessee,” Rose said. “It’s not good for our children, either.”
The board also received an update on the action plan for improving student ACT scores. Turner asked McDaniel for an overview of how everything was going and what to expect to hear over the course of the coming months. McDaniel called upon supervisor Dan Glasscock to present concerning the action plan.
“Just a reminder, the ACT is now the most widely used college readiness assessment in the United States, and of course ... our goal in the Bradley County School System is to get it out there over and over and over again, getting students college and career ready,” Glasscock said.
The ACT is systematically administered to all 11th-graders in Tennessee.
Two other states mandated that tests precede the ACT. Eighth-graders must take the EXPLORE test, which is a career interest test and academic skills measurement. Students in 10th grade must take the PLAN test, which is often referred to as the pre-ACT assessment.
Glasscock included steps for success in improving ACT scores in Bradley County.
Posters showing the assessments as “Steps to Success” have been distributed to all elementary and secondary schools. Parent/Student nights have been implemented to introduce parents to the tests and give test-taking strategies, and retaking of the ACT has been encouraged among students as well as other initiatives.
Todd Shoemaker, principal of Bradley Central High School, discussed teachers teaching strategies for taking the ACT. He said they are offering 10 quarter-long classes for students to help increase their scores, along with an “ACT boot camp.”
Walker Valley High School Principal Danny Coggin also discussed looking at individual students strengths and weaknesses to have a more focused way of increasing test scores.
Because of the initiative to take the ACT more than once, board members discussed how to best appropriate funds to increase students’ chances of raising their scores, which would in turn give them more scholarship and career opportunities.