Special Education Disadvantages

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Williamson County Schools serves nearly 38,000 students in 45 schools spanning grades PreK-12. Only 4.2% of the student population qualifies as economically disadvantaged. Fewer than 2% of the students are English Language Learners and 10% have disabilities while over 82% of the population is white. Additionally, WCS receives less than $9,000 per student in funding, among the lowest in the state. 79% of students have achieved a 21 or higher on the ACT (the minimum score to qualify for the Tennessee Hope Scholarship) and boasts a 24.6 average ACT composite score and 95.5% graduation rate. Students in Williamson County Schools significantly outpace the rest of the state in achievement, with anywhere from 80-95% of students at or above proficiency in all tested subjects. However, WCS struggles with growing the high academic achievers as evidenced by a low TVAAS score of 2 (on a 5 point scale; “State report card”).
WCS has provided to quality special education programs to students in the district, committing a significant amount of funding to hiring the necessary personnel. Although the ELL program is small, the numbers are spread across many schools, which as stretched many ESL teachers. Regardless, ESL students make good gains. WCS also committed to having 80% of students achieve a 21 on the ACT and has done so through a community partnership centered around peer tutoring as well as intensive ACT prep courses in high school. To address the lack of growth in the high achievers,
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