School board meeting photo

At the school board meeting on Thursday night, Trousdale County Elementary School Principal Demetrice Badru presented the groundwork that has been laid by the elementary school in preparation for the new requirements that will affect this year’s third-grade class.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Trousdale County School Board, newly-elected board members began their service to the school district with a full agenda.

One widely-discussed item on the agenda was the Tennessee Literacy Success Act, which went into effect this year, requiring all Tennessee third-graders to demonstrate proficiency in reading and language arts as a criterion for being promoted to fourth grade.

As part of her principal’s report to the board, Trousdale County Elementary School Principal Demetrice Badru presented the groundwork that has been laid by the school in preparation for the new standards that will affect this year’s third-grade class.

“We started (telling parents) when the (now third-graders) were in first grade (about the new law),” said Badru. “When they got into second grade, we addressed it at the fall parent/teacher conference, and we addressed it at the spring parent/teacher conference. Then we sent home letters with every single kiddo in second grade.

“When we started our open house (this year), I met with the third-grade parents who came. That was one of the first things (we discussed). Not all the parents were excited that we had to sit in the (hot) gym while I was talking about the early literacy law, but at that time, I felt it was so important. They needed to know.”

In January of 2021, the state legislature approved the Tennessee Literacy Success Act, which requires third-grade reading proficiency. However, the law does provide options for students who do not do well on the standardized test.

Students who score below the required state standards may be assigned to a summer reading camp or be required to attend an immersive tutoring program for reading, thus allowing promotion to fourth grade. Both options are provided at no cost to the parents.

Although the issue has been addressed with parents over the past two years, Badru is committed to the continuing education of parents on the state requirements for their students.

“I have a third grader right now,” said Trousdale County School Board member Racheal Petty. “I will say, (Ms. Badru) has done a really good job at informing everyone about it, but I’m sure there are plenty who didn’t listen or will say they didn’t know.”

Badru added, “I will have another meeting with those third-grade parents so that they are aware on parent/teacher conference night. Teachers will also talk with those parents. We have tried to make all of these contacts, but I promise you, there will be some that will say, ‘I have never heard of what you are talking about.’ ”

According to Badru, parents will be given additional opportunities throughout the year to receive information on the upcoming spring assessments.

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