1. Pasco

Pasco School Board prepares to adjust third-grade retention procedures

Even as it gave initial approval Tuesday to its 2016-17 student progression plan, the Pasco County School Board acknowledged the document will need more work.

Specifically, the staff wants to revise the section dealing with third-grade retention and promotion. The goal, superintendent Kurt Browning said, is to put the district more in line with a recent court ruling on the subject.

In that case, which included Pasco County as a defendant, Leon Circuit Judge Karen Gievers held that children need not have a state reading test score to be eligible for a "good cause" exemption set forth in law. Those exemptions include a portfolio of student work and an alternate test.

Gievers also suggested that report cards based on classroom work could be considered an acceptable option.

The Pasco school district is appealing the ruling. Still, Browning suggested, the progression plan could be amended to make even more clear the district's position and practices on this hot-button issue.

He stated in a recent memo, ""If teachers have evidence that a student who has refused to take the third grade ELA FSA should be promoted based on IRLA evidence documented through SchoolPace and other independent performance samples, then the student should not be required to take an alternate assessment or attend reading camp." That stance is not specifically spelled out in the current plan.

Browning told the board he planned to provide the changes "as soon as possible," and to hold two public hearings on them before adoption.