Former Memphis principal loses appeal over grade changes

Good morning!

Exactly a year ago today, hundreds of students at Hamilton High School walked out of class to demand answers about their why their principal Monekea Smith was suspended. Smith appealed her case to the Shelby County Schools board, but did not find a sympathetic ear. Hamilton was the second school implicated in a 2017 investigation into improper grade changes. Read the newly released details of the case and why Smith argues that she was a "scapegoat."

Also, be sure to read about what officials in Tennessee's state-run district are doing about the alarming statistic that one in three of their students are chronically absent, meaning they miss at least 10 percent of the school year.

— Laura Faith Kebede, reporter

GRADE CHANGING The Memphis principal who was demoted last year over what district officials said were improper grade changes will not get her job back. Chalkbeat, The Commercial Appeal, WREG

ROLL CALL One in three students are chronically absent in Tennessee’s state-run district. Here’s what educators are doing about it. Chalkbeat

STATEHOUSE TALKS Reporters from around the state, including our own Marta W. Aldrich, talk about the biggest issues coming up for the Tennessee legislature. WUOT

SCHOOL FINANCE A key House leader contends the lawsuit initiated by the Shelby County Schools board for more state funding is a “waste” of funds, especially considering the legislature’s increased spending on K-12 education in recent years. The Daily Memphian

STUDENT JUSTICE Shelby County Commissioners approve the first step in funding a new juvenile justice and education center during committee meetings. WREG, The Commercial Appeal

TROUBLE AT THE TOP After weeks of contentious meetings, Nashville’s school board will begin the process of conducting Shawn Joseph’s annual review later this month, culminating with a more formal review in June. The Tennessean

A Nashville school board member defends her suggestion to teachers to wear a mask to a meeting where others planned to protest Joseph’s leadership. WSMV

MOCK FUNERAL? A Memphis principal’s plan to motivate her staff by holding a mock funeral backfired. Her teachers were so upset, they contacted their union reps. WHBQWMC

TEACHER DISCIPLINE A Nashville special education teacher is off the job after being arrested five times in six months. WSMV

BULLYING IN SCHOOL Students living in areas that voted for President Donald Trump faced more bullying after the 2016 election, according to new research. Chalkbeat