Three Knox County schools were added to a list of low-performing schools this week, and the county's superintendent of education said improvements are already underway.
Lonsdale Elementary, Green Magnet Academy and Vine Middle Magnet school were added to the roster of "priority" schools in Tennessee. Schools on the priority list are among the lowest-performing schools in the state as measured by student test scores. They have a year to craft an improvement plan, or risk state intervention.
The three schools join Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy, which has been on the priority list since 2012.
Eight other Knox County schools were added to the state's "focus" schools list, meaning there were significant gaps in academic performance between certain student groups. Those groups are broken down on the basis of family income, race, disability or other characteristics. Schools in Anderson, Blount, Claiborne, Grainger, Hamblen, Loudon, Roane and Sevier also made the focus list.
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre said significant changes have already been made at the priority schools, but that results may take some time.
"I think in a couple of those instances, we are beginning to see some real positive momentum and positive changes and improvements in those schools,” he told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Monday. “But it’s a three year-index, so those changes perhaps haven’t come soon enough to see the results as of yet.”
The priority and focus additions aren't finalized yet. The Tennessee Board of Education will have to sign off on the updates on August 26.