By Joey Hassell


The Tennessee Department of Education recently released to all school districts the results of the state’s new TNReady student assessment. TNReady is a part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and is designed to assess true student understanding, not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. It is a way to assess what students know and what educators can do to help students succeed in the future.

Students in third through eighth grade take TNReady assessments in English/language arts (ELA), math, science, and social studies at the end of each school year. High school students take the following assessments at the end of each of the following courses:

  • English I, II, and III
  • Algebra I, II, and Geometry OR Integrated Math I, II, and III
  • Biology and Chemistry
  • S. History/Geography

All results from these assessments are returned to local school districts so they may analyze data, adjust instruction, and align available resources in an effort to meet the needs of its students. Some of the tested subjects are used to measure the overall performance of particular schools, districts, and teachers. The success of school districts is measured for the sake of accountability from the following categories:

  • English/Language Arts, Grades 3-5
  • English/Language Arts, Grades 6-8
  • English/Language Arts, Grades 9-12
  • Math, Grades 3-5
  • Math, Grades 6-8
  • Math, Grades 9-12
  • ACT Composite – High School
  • Graduation Rate – High School

Based on performance in these identified areas, each school district in the state receives a final determination status for academic progress. These determinations are calculated from student performance as a result of achievement, value-added growth measures, and subgroup performance. These accountability measures help to ensure that school districts are focused on raising proficiency levels, narrowing achievement gaps, and ensuring growth for all students. The four accountability determinations are defined below:

In Need of Improvement Progressing Achieving Exemplary
District is showing isolated improvement, if any District is improving on average but missing growth expectation District is meeting growth expectation on average District is exceeding growth expectation on average

Results from the 2016-2017 TNReady assessments have earned Haywood County Schools the status of in need of improvement because the district missed the minimum performance goal linked to growth; however, the district was noted as progressing with academic achievement and achieving with subgroup achievement performance. The state provides a determination for not only school districts but also individual schools. Schools are targeted with a specific status that dictates the level of state intervention and improvement needed. Haywood Schools had one school identified on the state’s list of schools in need of significant improvement. Haywood High School is noted as Focus Improving.

 Table 1A: The targets below reflect the accountability goals and whether or not the district met the expectations. Districts get credit for the goal if they meet either the achievement or TVAAS (value- added growth) goal. The higher of the two scores are taken from the achievement and TVAAS goal to calculate the district’s accountability score.

Content Area Achievement Goal TVAAS Goal Subgroup Goal
3-5 ELA No No No
3-5 Math No No No
6-8 ELA Met No Met
6-8 Math No No No
High School ELA Met Yes Met
High School Math Met No Met
ACT Composite Met No No
Graduation Rate Met Met

Table 1B: Haywood County’s progress in achievement categories is compared to state averages solely for a reference point. Rather than expecting all schools to meet certain proficiency targets, the state’s accountability system focuses on growth and improvement, recognizing that schools are starting from various levels of proficiency. Later this Fall, parents will receive reports from their school on how their children performed on TNReady including relative comparisons to their peers in Haywood County and statewide.

Subject Grade HCS % TN %
ELA 3-5 21.6 34.0
ELA 6-8 16.4 33.6
ELA 9-12 19.1 34.4
Math 3-5 23.3 40.1
Math 6-8 11.5 35.8
Math 9-12 4.8 21.5
Science 3-5 33.3 55.8
Science 6-8 36.3 61.4
Science 9-12 38.6 51.0
Graduation Rate 92.4 89.1


The school district clearly recognizes the need to focus on continuous improvement and growth for all students. Teachers and administrators are aware of the areas of needed improvement and are working hard to deliver quality instruction for all students. Schools in the county will continue to clarify and commit to teaching the state approved curriculum standards while ensuring that students gain the necessary basic literacy and math skills they need. In addition, each school is working toward increasing and refining the social skills students need to be successful during and after school hours.



In 2017-2018, Haywood County Schools is aligning to the State of Tennessee’s strategic plan, and we are putting an additional focus on ensuring equity, aligning to high expectations, and providing authentic pathways to success after high school for all students in Haywood County.

First, we must collectively ensure equity. Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed. We must do everything possible to provide all students with the resources and supports appropriate to their specific circumstance.

Second, we must deeply align to high expectations. Tennessee has set high expectations in our standards and meeting these expectations will require strong support at all levels of Haywood County Schools.

Finally, we must provide authentic pathways to success after high school. Every student should be able to choose their path in life. They should not have their options limited because Haywood County does not offer the same types of courses as a school in a different county.

Haywood County Schools is also engaging in a cycle of continuous improvement by focusing on key district priorities outlined below:

Standards, Assessment, & Accountability

  • Our standards set a strong foundation for all students’ growth, our assessments provide actionable feedback on whether students are reaching those standards, and our accountability system ensures we are all aligned towards the same goals.
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Build teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the new academic standards and associated shifts.
    • Use data from TNReady reports and formative assessments, as well as aligned materials, to support successful implementation of new standards and improved performance on TNReady.

Early Foundations & Literacy

  • Over the last year, we have seen remarkable collaboration develop across the district to improve literacy outcomes for Pre-K through third graders. Where do we go from here? What are the next steps to ensure that we are aligned in our strategies to provide all students with solid foundational skills coupled with deep comprehension and knowledge?
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Incorporate Tennessee’s Early Learning Model (ELM) into our vision for early literacy success.
    • Support educators to implement high quality literacy practices as defined in the state’s vision for third grade reading proficiency and “Teaching Literacy in Tennessee.”

All Means All

  • Like Tennessee, Haywood County continues to demonstrate large achievement gaps among students of different race and socioeconomic status. Our historically underrepresented populations are more likely than their peers to miss crucial instructional time due to absence or discipline and less likely to score on-track on standardized exams. By increasing quality core instruction and intensive intervention supports, we can better support all students.
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Ensure strong implementation of RTI2 characterized by the inclusion of all students in Tier 1 instruction and a classroom environment that pairs appropriate challenges and supports for success.
    • Establish a positive school climate by leveraging a multi-tiered system of support that results in a reduction of students that are chronically out of school.
      • Positive School Climate = The Leader in Me (K-8)

High School & Bridge to Postsecondary

  • Success after high school in Tennessee increasingly requires the completion of a postsecondary degree or certificate. Research shows that students who enroll in at least one early post- secondary opportunity, especially those in traditionally underserved populations, are more likely to matriculate into and persist in postsecondary. If we create vertically aligned pathways and opportunities for students to be exposed to early college and career training, we can strengthen our overall workforce and economy while improving students’ overall quality of life.
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Create vertically aligned pathways from kindergarten through graduation (K-12) and on to postsecondary.
    • Develop a diverse and high-quality portfolio of early postsecondary, industry certification, and capstone work-based learning opportunities for students and ensure they are aligned with postsecondary and career opportunities.

Educator Support

  • The strength of Haywood County’s classrooms is defined by the strength of Haywood County’s educators. Haywood County will work to offer a wide variety of formal and informal teacher learning opportunities.
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Develop a comprehensive human capital system to acquire, develop, and sustain highly effective educators.
    • Assess, develop, and evaluate our district’s approach to ensure rigorous and aligned professional learning that improves the practices of all educators.

District Empowerment

  • Haywood County Schools can only take a leap forward if we are aligned in strategies that lead to a shared vision of improvement.
  • Haywood County Schools will:
    • Develop, communicate, and consistently review our strategic, data-based vision for our district’s future.
    • Support our strategic plan through effective and efficient use of resources.





Welcome Back Letter – HCS – (2017-2018)

Superintendent’s Entry Plan – Memo – Website

Hassell – HCS Superintendent Entry Plan – 2017-2018 School Year copy