MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools made progress last year, but still faces big challenges, according to the Tennessee Department of Education's annual report card.
The report card shows how well schools and districts performed in several key areas last school year.
SCS students did better in math, English and social studies and slightly more students – about 1 in 5 – performed at or above grade level on state exams.
But a closer look at the numbers shows SCS lagged behind the state average in just about every category.
On-time graduation rates dipped, and dropout rates went up.
The report shows the percentage of students who missed 10 percent or more of the school year also increased.
In early November, SCS told WMC Action News 5 they're working to keep more kids in school.
"Our students see violence in their communities and many times they bring this with them," said Shawn Page, Shelby County Schools Chief of Operations.
Statistics show fewer SCS students have been suspended in recent years.
The state report card shows last year in-school and out of school suspensions increase. However, expulsions decreased.
"Dr. Ray has been very intentional in how we support schools and teachers and students and for this year we've implemented what's called social emotional learning," said Page.
This approach focuses on helping students deal with the root of their problems.
The report also shows only 20 percent of SCS students who graduated last year were ready for college or careers after getting their diploma compared to about 40 percent of graduates statewide.
Overall, the state report card shows a district that improved in some areas but has a way to go in others.