Growing and Gaining in Tennessee
by James Robinson, Director of Schools in Nashville
We are proud and excited to report that both Rocketship schools in Nashville, Rocketship United Academy and Rocketship Nashville Northeast, received the highest possible growth score — a Level 5 — on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). TVAAS measures student growth year over year. Scoring at Level 5 means our students gained more than one year of academic knowledge during the last school year. TVAAS is particularly significant since this is the first time the state has been able to establish a growth measure for elementary schools under its new higher academic standards. For the second straight TVAAS, Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary scored a Level 5. This is also the first-ever TVAAS score for Rocketship United Academy. The TVAAS growth score is a component of the 2017-2018 TN Ready assessment*.
Most of our students come to us behind grade level. Our strong growth shows that we are narrowing their achievement gaps and helping them succeed. In fact, economically disadvantaged students, English learners and students of color at Rocketship are outperforming the achievement of similar students in Nashville and across the state.
Rocketship United Academy made particularly impressive progress. Our students had the best year-over-year improvement in reading of any elementary school in Nashville by more than doubling the percentage of students on-track or mastered. This is even more remarkable since United Academy serves one of the largest populations of English learners in Metro Schools. At United Academy, English learners are three times more likely to be proficient in readingthan their peers throughout Nashville and the state. United Academy is by far the top-performing elementary school of the seven elementaries in the Glencliff cluster. In Nashville, clusters are a group of the schools in one delineated geographic area that all feed into the same district high school.
Standardized test results are just one measure of achievement and must be considered in tandem with other measures. Yet state tests provide an objective view of the quality of our schools that let us see the persistent achievement gap in our communities and help us hold schools accountable to serving all students with the excellence that every student deserves.
While we have much to celebrate in this year’s TNReady results, our work to prepare all Rocketeers for success in college and beyond is far from done. We won’t be satisfied until every student who passes through our doors is reaching their full potential.
*TNReady faced some challenges with its online test administration last spring. However, all elementary schools took the paper and pencil version of the test, so there is no question on the validity of the test for elementary schools and therefore Rocketship schools in Tennessee.
Prior to becoming the Director of Schools for Rocketship Nashville, James Robinson founded Rocketship United Academy in Nashville in 2015. Under his leadership, Rocketship United consistently made double-digit leaps in proficiency on the Nationally Normed NWEA MAP Assessment. Before serving as a Founding Principal in Nashville, James was an Assistant Principal at Rocketship Mosaic in San Jose, California. Before joining Rocketship, Mr. Robinson was selected for the CSP Leadership Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN. As a Leadership Fellow, James designed a school, conducted market research to identify a neighborhood to build a school and also consulted for the Harvest Network of Schools. Prior to being a fellow, James was a founding teacher at Uncommon Schools Rochester Prep.
Published on August 30, 2018