Freedom Middle Wins National STEM Competition

Freedom Middle School students traveled to Purdue University on December 9 to compete against six other teams across the nation, including sister school Poplar Grove Middle, in a STEM-based competition called TECHFIT (Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists). On December 10, after presenting a powerpoint presentation and its original technology based fitness game, judges announced that the Freedom Middle team won the competition, now in its fifth year of funding through the Purdue University College of Engineering and the National Science Foundation.   Only seven invitations were issued and, based on a video submission and an on-site judges’ review, Poplar Grove Middle and Freedom Middle were selected to move on to the national competition in West Lafayette, Indiana. Students have spent many months designing, coding and constructing the “exergame.” Competing teams presented their TECHFIT experience and demonstrated their exergame innovation at the Purdue Recreational Sports Facility. “After seeing all of the schools present their exergame, we knew we had a challenge,” said sponsoring teacher Patty Littlejohn. “We were on pins and needles! There were so many good aspects in every school’s game and presentation.” Littlejohn said that the judges were very complimentary of the work the students had put in. One judge said, “It is very obvious your team spent time and effort actually going through what you were doing in presentation and administration – it wasn’t off the cuff.” Another judge said, “You engaged the judges, you actually approached us and gave us handouts and group documentation of your process. That shows process and product documentation.” Other notables included compliments on the music and the actual physical construction...

Strategic Planning Input Session Nov. 27 and 29

Throughout the past six months, the Franklin Special School District School Board and Leadership Team have begun the process of designing a new long-range strategic plan. We have guided our discussion around goals using the extensive feedback we gathered during the AdvancED accreditation process this spring, academic data from state and local assessments, and planning documents that the district uses each year to design instruction, improve culture, develop technology goals and improve academic performance. We are excited to have enough information and feedback at this point to have put together a draft Five-Year Strategic Plan. Called Reach 2024, this one-page talking points flier is attached to this email and the more complete plan is now ready for public review and input. This is where you come in! We invite you to one of two public review and input sessions. The public review  sessions are Tuesday, November 27 and Thursday, November 29. Both sessions will be 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Moore Elementary School, 1061 Lewisburg Pike. During public review, we will explain how we arrived at our broad goals and what strategic objectives we have developed to achieve the goals. Best practice in strategic planning is to keep goals broad and limited to 3-5 achievable targets. While we have discussed and refined the current goals in the Reach 2024 document many times, we are ready to hear your thoughts regarding possible revisions to these goals. Please consider attending one of the two sessions mentioned above. Thank you for helping us to “Reach 2024” with clear, thoughtful and well-defined goals that will strategically guide our school district over the next five...

FSSD 1 of 14 Exemplary Districts Celebrated by State

Late Friday afternoon, districts across the state waited anxiously for the Tennessee Board of Education to ratify the Department of Education’s accountability results, which places schools and school districts in several distinct categories. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the 2018 District Designations as well as the Reward and Priority schools, which are two key designations under Tennessee’s school accountability system. There are 147 school districts across the state. The FSSD is one of only 14 districts to be named Exemplary. The good news didn’t stop there, though. Five of the eight FSSD schools were named Reward Schools, another top designation. “We were very excited and extremely proud of the Accountability Results released Friday. Being an Exemplary district and having 62% of our schools designated as Reward Schools are noted accomplishments,” said Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden. This was the first year Tennessee implemented its new school accountability model, which looks at multiple measures of success based mainly on the results of the TNReady tests given to students in grade 3-12 each spring. According to the Department of Education’s website, districts designated as exemplary are generally exceeding expectations on average for both all students and each historically underserved student group. “All of these positive results are due to the work of our passionate, dedicated and talented teachers, the hard work by our students and the support of parents, school and district leaders and the School Board,” Snowden...

Career Quest for 8th Graders to be Held Nov. 8

The 17th Annual World of Possibilities Career Exploration Day will be held Thursday, November 8, 2018 at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park. This comprehensive career day is being held to better inform eighth grade students about some of the career opportunities available in Middle Tennessee. Williamson County and Franklin Special School Districts recognize there are specific workforce needs for Williamson County and Middle Tennessee. We are taking an active role to introduce students to career opportunities and other emerging careers by offering more career education within the curriculum. As our 8th grade students prepare for the transition to high school and begin to think about post-high school career options, the World of Possibilities Career Quest is an excellent strategy for getting students authentically engaged in learning about careers. The 8th grade students will travel by school bus to the Williamson County Ag Expo Park and will be chaperoned by their teachers. Students will visit career exhibits based on their interests and ask questions to learn more about that particular career. We are proud to offer this opportunity to our eighth graders and appreciate the excellent participation of our exhibitors and...

FSSD’s Commitment to Excellence Evident in 2018 TNReady Results

The release of TNReady results August 16 demonstrates Franklin Special School District’s continued commitment to maintaining high levels of achievement and growth. “We are very proud of the district’s results,” said Director of Schools Dr. David Snowden. “The FSSD continues to be one of the top performing school districts in the state. We are proud of the work of our teachers and students that places us again in the top 10 districts in all grade bands (3-5 and 6-8)  and all tested subjects.” The FSSD is one of only five school districts state-wide to hold this distinction. Snowden said the district is pleased with increased proficiency and growth in ELA/Literacy as this has been a focus for improvement in recent years. The district brought its ELA/Literacy growth score up from a 1 to a 5 this year. Another highlight the district is celebrating is the increase in growth in Science (from a 3 in 2017 to a 5 in 2018). The FSSD’s overall composite, which includes ELA/Literacy, Math, Science and Social Studies, also improved from a 3 in 2017 to a 5 in 2018. Other district achievements include: Percent of proficient students in grades 3-8 increased in ELA/Literacy. Of particular note was the growth of 5th-graders with 14% more students proficient in 2018 and 3rd grade with 9% more students proficient in 2018. Percent of proficient students in grades 3-8 fell slightly in Math. Fifth-graders again showed strong performance with 5% more students scoring at the proficient level in 2018. Percent of proficient students in grades 3-8 increased in Science. Fifth-graders continued to shine with 6% more students proficient in 2018....

Five FSSD Schools Named Tennessee Reward Schools

While all FSSD schools did extremely well on state testing in achievement, five schools met all of the measures the state uses to assign the designation of Reward School. Congratulations to Freedom Intermediate, Liberty Elementary, Moore Elementary, Poplar Grove Elementary and Poplar Grove Middle! Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee and includes the top 5 percent of schools for academic achievement and the top 5 percent for student growth. This year, 318 schools in 85 school districts, about 20 percent of schools in the state, earned Reward status. Reward Schools are generally those that are improving in terms of achievement and growth for both all students and student groups. According the state website, the new accountability framework is based on principles that all schools can be successful and all Tennessee students must be served well. It includes a variety of measures, including chronic absenteeism and discipline, ACT performance, and TNReady scores, to make a determination. All schools are rated both on how they serve the full student population and how they are specifically serving student groups that have historically been underserved: students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and black, Hispanic, and Native American students. In addition to the five Reward Schools, FSSD was also named an Exemplary District by the State. It is one of only 14 across Tennessee to receive this...