Three Green Dot schools – Bluff City High School, Kirby Middle School, and Wooddale Middle School – all achieved Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) scores of 5 as they opened in early August for the 2018-19 school year. The scores show significant growth and achievement for Green Dot Public Schools’ students. We began operating schools in Memphis since 2014 when we were invited by the state’s Achievement School District to transform several local middle and high schools.
TVAAS measures student growth year over year by comparing their performance to those of their peers on previous state assessments. Bluff City, Wooddale, and Kirby’s TVAAS scores of 5 collectively reflect strong student outcomes driven by the structural support systems that Green Dot implements on its campuses. Rigorous, college-prep-focused academic programs combined with small class sizes have resulted in stronger performances by students on assessments as well as higher retention rates – 91% at Kirby and 86% at Wooddale.
"We are proud of our schools across Memphis for the growth we’ve seen in student outcomes, while recognizing that student achievement is more than just a test score,” said Dr. Megan Quaile, Executive Director of Green Dot Public Schools Tennessee. “A high-quality public education means providing every student with the tools they need both inside and outside the classroom to do well. We serve a diverse set of students with different needs, and it is important to take the time to think through our approaches and ensure that a student is getting every opportunity to overcome any obstacles they face and remain supported at school.”
Bluff City High School, the first independent, state-authorized school in Tennessee, has made significant strides since it first opened in fall of 2017, having scored a 5 on the TVAAS assessment in its first year alone. Wooddale and Kirby are two of Green Dot’s transformation schools that have seen growth in completion and retention rates and academic achievement since 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Quaile, along with Green Dot leadership, have been long-time advocates of focusing student assessment practices on growth measures alongside other behavioral and cultural metrics. Given that many of Green Dot Tennessee’s students enter grade levels below in reading and math, focusing on how students are catching up and closing the gap in academic performance relative to their starting point is vital. Green Dot doesn’t rely on using test scores alone to measure student success because it does not necessarily account for the hard work that a student puts in to get from point A to point B.
As public education continues to evolve in Tennessee, Green Dot has focused on hiring an experienced group of school leaders who reflect the communities they serve and can execute best practices in intentional and effective ways. Each of the Green Dot Tennessee schools offer students small class sizes, comprehensive academic support, a robust college-prep curriculum, and health and wellness services — all fundamental to the Green Dot approach aimed at supporting the whole child in achieving long-term success.