Students waitlisted for Summer Learning Camps

Due to high enrollment for rising fourth-graders, Knox County Schools was forced to waitlist students from its Summer Learning Camps.
Due to high enrollment, KCS was forced to waitlist students from its Summer Learning Camps.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 6:32 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Some Knox County parents are upset, after their kids were put on a waitlist for Knox County Schools Summer Learning Camps.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but this decision is a direct result of the third grade retention law and the state requirement to prioritize and serve rising 4th-grade students,” KCS said in an email to parents.

Tennessee’s new third-grade retention law requires students who test below “proficient” on TCAP reading tests attend summer learning or stay in third grade. More teachers now have to be devoted to the high enrollment of rising fourth-grade students this summer, instead of being split between first, second, and third grades.

WVLT News spoke to one KCS parent whose son was waitlisted. She wanted to stay anonymous to protect her son’s identity. He’s a rising first-grader and struggles with math and reading.

“These kindergarteners and first-graders need the help. It’s just the gap is going to get larger and larger, and it’s going to be a snowball effect,” she said. “By the time they’re in third grade, the gap of learning that they’re going to have is going to be so much larger than it needed to be.”

Students registered for summer learning were chosen through a blind lottery system, not based on test scores. This mom felt her son is being left behind.

“We knew these kids were struggling. We shouldn’t wait until the last second to get them the help they need,” she said.

Now, some parents are scrambling to find childcare after their children were waitlisted.

Summer Learning Camps run from June 5, to June 28.