Crestview Elementary School, whose gym is pictured here, and Crestview Middle School took a direct hit from the EF-3 tornado on March 31. Photo by David Perry

Their homes and schools were catastrophically damaged after taking a direct hit from an EF-3 tornado two weeks ago and today Crestview families received more bad news: Gov. Bill Lee won’t grant them an exception for next week’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program testing.

“Tipton County Schools was notified by state officials today that Crestview Elementary and Crestview Middle School students will be required to complete TCAP testing for grades 3-8. Testing has not been waived by the Governor for CES and CMS,” Director of Instruction Dr. Rebekah Byrd said in a press release Friday afternoon.

It was yet more bad news for families still trying to pick up the pieces.

Dr. John Combs is pictured taking a phone call outside of Crestview Elementary School on April 1, 2023, the morning after an EF-3 damaged it and Crestview Middle. Photo by Echo Day

The board said they have opted out of testing Crestview Elementary second graders, because it is a local decision, however they have no choice for third through eighth grades.

Crestview Elementary students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades will take TCAP tests at Charger Academy, and Crestview Middle students will test at Covington High School.

Students will begin attending school for testing purposes at these locations on Tuesday, April 25. The school day for CES and CMS will be the same schedule as other schools across the district and bus transportation will be provided. 

Dr. Byrd said additional details regarding the testing schedule, dismissal times, and other information will be shared with families directly from CES and CMS.

TCAP testing has higher stakes than usual this year for third graders with potential retention resulting if the students do not meet certain standards. Amendments to the bill to ease the restrictions are still working their way through the state legislature.

Crestview parents who heard the news before the district could announce it flooded the governor’s office with phone calls, pleading with him for support for their students.

Lee’s office said, “The administration has worked to support teachers and students impacted by the devastating tornadoes in West Tennessee by offering various waivers and flexibilities for Tipton County schools, including assessment window flexibility for grades 3-8, waiving the use of TCAP scores to determine a student’s grade, and ensuring that TCAP scores won’t impact teacher evaluations.

“Additionally, every impacted student in Tipton County will be eligible for an appeal to a third-grade testing result. The Tennessee Department of Education remains in communication with the local school superintendent, and impacted schools stand ready to assist Tennessee families with the appeals process.”

Lee, who has worked closely with Tennessee Republicans to invest taxpayer dollars into private education, has not even seen the devastation up close. He traveled to West Tennessee on Saturday, April 1 to tour Adamsville, where an EF-3 tornado killed nine people the night before, but skipped Covington altogether.

The devastation is unavoidable for Tipton County, however. Students and faculty have been displaced for two weeks and counting, though some have started attending tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club until temporary structures are finished.

The Leader
Author: The Leader


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