Honors Program

The Office of Student Performance works collaboratively with principals, teachers, and parents to create, implement, evaluate, and revise the guidelines for the FSSD Honors Program in grades 5-8. 


  1. All eligible students in grades 5-8 may participate in the FSSD Honors Program. Due to the limited number of students per grade level at Poplar Grove Middle School, honors students may be clustered in differentiated classrooms.
  1. The Honors Program consists of the following classes: English/Language Arts in grades 5- 8, Science in grades 5-8, Math in grades 5-7, Algebra I in grades 7-8, Geometry in grade 8, World Language in grades 7-8, and Computer Science in  grade 7 or 8.
  1. The winter benchmark assessments for STAR Reading and iReady Math are used as the qualifying assessments for Honors classes. STAR Reading is also used for the qualifying scores for honors Science. Rising 7th and 8th graders take the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT), in order to be considered for Algebra I or Honors Math. Rising 7th graders take the Modern Language Aptitude Test – Elementary (MLAT-E), in order to be considered for World Language (Spanish or French).
  1. The winter benchmark assessments, consisting of reading and math, will be offered to rising 4th through 8th graders in May of each year. In order to have time for scheduling and parent reconsideration requests, scores from the winter benchmark tests will determine Honors admission. In addition, students may also qualify based on their TCAP scores from the previous year. The IAAT will be offered to rising 7th and 8th graders in February of each year. The MLAT-E will be offered to rising 7th graders in February of each year as well. The IAAT and MLAT-E must be taken by the student during the calendar year he/she wishes to be considered for Honors.
  2. For students who are new to the district, school personnel will gather state or district assessment data from their previous school, if possible. If the scores are unavailable or cannot be interpreted in a manner consistent with the FSSD benchmark tests, STAR Reading and iReady Math will be administered at the start of the school year and used as the qualifying measure. New students who wish to enroll in Algebra I or World Language will take the appropriate assessment(s)—IAAT or MLAT-E—at the beginning of the school year.
  3. The Honors entry tests (Explore, IAAT, and/or MLAT-E) are offered free of charge to students.
  1. Upon receipt of the results from the IAAT and MLAT-E, qualifying scores for each grade level cohort are determined by the Administrative Honors Committee. The committee evaluates the performance of current FSSD test-takers and determines a qualifying score. Cut scores may differ for each subject and may vary from year to year. Students may participate in every subject in which the score requirements are met.
  1. Rising 5th—8th grade students are eligible to participate in the FSSD Honors Program if they meet one of the three criteria listed below:
    • Made the required qualifying cut score on the assessment appropriate for the grade level and subject area.
      • For the 2022-2023 school year, students scoring at the 85th percentile on the winter STAR Reading test will qualify for Honors ELA and Science. Students scoring at the 85th percentile on the winter iReady Math test will qualify for Honors Math.
      • For the 2022-2023 school year, students may also qualify based on their TCAP scores from the spring of 2021. Students scoring at the 90th percentile or above in the subject areas (ELA, Math, Science) will qualify for an Honors class in those subjects.
    • Placement is validated by evidence collected on the Honors Reconsideration Form (see #10 and #11 below) and agreed to by the parent and administrator.
    • Space is available for families who have completed the Honors Reconsideration Form. If the form was received after the deadline, there may be a waiting list based on the school’s space in Honors classes.
  2. Parents and students will be notified by mail concerning their status for participation in the Honors Program. (Students currently enrolled in Honors classes will automatically qualify for these classes next year, assuming they maintain the necessary grade requirements for the remainder of the school year.) Parents may choose to opt out of their child’s participation in Honors classes by completing the Honors Opt Out Form included in the mailing. This Honors Opt Out Form should be sent to the child’s 2022-23 school.
  3. If a student does not qualify for the Honors Program via the qualifying cut score on the appropriate assessment, the parent will receive an Honors Reconsideration Form. Parents may submit the form to the 2022-23 school, in order to request that their child be reconsidered for the program. The request will only be granted if the data collected on the Honors Reconsideration Form validates this placement for the child and if space is available.
  1. Upon receipt of the Honors Program Reconsideration Form, the following steps will be taken:
    • Data from the spring STAR Reading and iReady Math assessments will be recorded.
    • The principal will analyze the teacher perceived rate of learning (TPRL) traits from the previous year’s teachers.
    • A student may be placed in an Honors class if a) there is available space in such class, and if b) the student meets a minimum score on the spring benchmark tests for reconsideration. The principal and parent will discuss the above data and will make a shared decision related to the student being enrolled in Honors classes. Additionally, the Parent Commitment Form will be discussed to ensure a full understanding of the academic expectations of the program. If placement in Honors classes occurs, the parent will sign the Parent Commitment Form, and the student will be placed in the honors class.
  2. If a student does not qualify for an Honors class via the qualifying cut score on the appropriate assessment or through the reconsideration process, parents may request to be on the school’s waiting list for Honors classes.
  3. Parents may complete an Honors Reconsideration Form for any Honors class with the exception of Algebra I for 7th graders.
  4. Students who meet the TN standards as a student who is Intellectually Gifted do not automatically qualify for the Honors Program. If an Intellectually Gifted student does not meet the qualifying score for honors, it is the Eligibility Team’s responsibility to determine whether or not an honors class is the most appropriate placement. The Honors Program Reconsideration Form will be used to evaluate data collected from the following sources: TCAP, STAR, iReady, and teacher perceived rate of learning (TPRL). Based on the results, a student who meets the State standards as Intellectually Gifted might be placed in a differentiated general education classroom or one or more honors classes.
  1. Prior to participating in the program the first time, parents of eligible students should attend an orientation meeting with a school administrator. If a parent does not attend the official meeting, he/she should contact the school to make other arrangements for Honors Program orientation. The principal will inform parents of the common characteristics—strengths and problems/challenges—of academically talented students as well as the implications for future coursework for students who participate in the Honors Program. Having this information will assist parents in making good decisions about whether this rigorous program is the most appropriate placement for their child, realizing that in a challenging program of this nature, students may not always earn a grade of A or B on every assignment. Standards of performance cannot waver.
  1. Parents of students participating in the Honors Program will be required to sign a new Parent Commitment Form each year agreeing to maintain the standards of the Honors Program.
  1. When a student has difficulty in an Honors class, it is important to determine if Honors is the most appropriate placement for the student. The following steps will be taken:
  • If any student earns a grade below an 80% average (81% for high school credit classes) on his/her quarterly progress report, the classroom teacher will contact the parent to share the reason for the grade and a reminder of the quarterly grade requirement that a student maintains a passing (70 and above) grade.
  • The parent may contact a teacher or administrator at any time if they have questions about their child’s academic progress and performance in an Honors class.
  • If the student does not make the expected improvement by the end of nine weeks as indicated by a grade of 70% or higher on his/her report card for the quarter grade, the student will be exited from the program and rescheduled into a differentiated general education class.
  1. The FSSD Honors Program Guidelines will be placed on the website and reviewed with teachers at the beginning of each school year.


High school courses offered in the FSSD include Algebra I, Geometry, French I (A-B), Spanish I (A-B), and Computer Science (FMS only). Credit for the successful completion of these courses is granted by Williamson County Schools (WCS).

FSSD students enrolled in high school courses will be subject to the Williamson County Board of Education’s Policy #4.600 Report Cards and Grading Systems. The following grading scale will be used:

Grade Grade Range
A 91-100
B 81-90
C 72-80
D 70-71
F Below 70


In accordance with WCS Board of Education Policy #4.6051 Credit Requirements for Graduation, FSSD students entering into Williamson County Schools will receive high school credit by (1) passing (grade 70 or above) both semesters of the course. Algebra I and Geometry students will take the TCAP End of Course assessment. Currently, TCAP assessment grades may count up 15% of a student’s final spring semester grade for the course if the additional score increases the student’s grade. Students enrolled in Spanish I and French I will take a final exam developed in conjunction with World Language teachers in Williamson County Schools. Currently, the final exam grade may count up to 15% of the student’s final grade for the course.  Final course grades will be recorded as Credit or No Credit with no grade point average (GPA) value. There is not an option to refuse the credit.

All FSSD middle school courses that may count as credit for high school are taught at an honors level and are subject to all criteria of an honors level course. FSSD students must maintain a passing grade average (70 or above) on their report card, as they must pass both semesters to receive credit. After completing all requirements of an honors level course, these courses will count towards the Williamson County Honors Diploma. (WCS Policy #4.6051 Credit Requirements for Graduation, 4.60511 Graduation with Honors or Distinction).

High school credit courses also abide by the following state board policy (SBE policy 2.103(6)(3)(c)):

Students enrolled in courses with End of Course examinations may not withdraw from such courses after being enrolled in the course for at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the instructional days in the course.

If we have students in an enrolled HS course that are not meeting expectations, schedule changes should be made by the end of the first quarter.

Although the successful completion of Algebra I and Geometry in middle school will count towards a student’s high school math credits for graduation, a student must still take four years of math during high school. Parents should understand clearly that students taking high school levels of math in middle school (Algebra I and Geometry) are still required to take four additional math courses different from those taken in middle school.

Please note: Successful completion of one year of World Language in middle school will count towards the two year requirement for high school graduation. For students who will be attending a four-year higher education institution following high school, two additional years of World Language in the high school setting are highly recommended.

If you have questions regarding the FSSD Honors Program, designed to support and extend the Tennessee Department of Education’s Academic Standards, please contact Dr. Pax Wiemers, Supervisor, at 615-794-6624.

Reconsideration Request Form

 This form is to be completed by a parent or guardian who makes a request for his/her child to be placed in the Honors Program, even though the child has not met the qualifying criteria for specific classes.

Opt Out Form

This form is to be completed by a parent or guardian who makes a request for his/her child to NOT be placed in specific classes in the Honors Program, even though the child has met the qualifying criteria for those classes.