NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The best schools in the state got a big reward Monday afternoon.
At a special event in Brentwood, Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman named 169 schools as 2011-12 Reward Schools. They are the top five percent of schools in the state for annual growth, as well as the top five percent for academic achievement.
Reward Schools are spread across 70 districts in Tennessee, in metropolitan and rural areas. More than 100 of them serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations. Many schools tuned in for a special webcast Monday featuring Gov. Haslam, First Lady Crissy Haslam, Huffman and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“Tennessee is leading the way in education reform, and these schools demonstrate two key focuses of education in our state: high levels of achievement and continuous growth,” Haslam said at an event held at Kenrose Elementary School in Brentwood. “Job creation and education are inextricably linked, and continuing our momentum in education reform is important as we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. We are proud of the teachers and staff at each of these schools and excited to recognize their efforts on behalf of Tennessee students.”
The state has been working to become the fastest-improving educational system in the country by raising student performance each year, so for the first time, Tennessee recognized schools that have shown the most progress year-over-year, alongside the schools with the highest achievement scores on statewide tests. Nearly a quarter of the 169 schools on the Reward School list earned both designations, rising to the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth, while also ranking in the state's top five percent for overall achievement, according to a new accountability system adopted through Tennessee's No Child Left Behind waiver. The state also saw gains on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, in the 2011-12 school year, with the Reward Schools leading the way in making progress.
That new accountability system rewards growth and recognizes schools' varying baselines, so every school in the state can work to achieve the Reward Schools designation.
“We believe that all students deserve strong schools where they can grow to high levels of achievement,” Huffman said. “At the beginning of each year, every school in this state should know that they have a shot at becoming a Reward School.”
In Knox County, the following 10 schools received the designation:
· Bearden Elementary School
· Carter Elementary School
· Corryton Elementary School
· Gap Creek Elementary School
· Powell High School
· Ritta Elementary School
· Sequoyah Elementary School
· Shannondale Elementary School
· South Doyle Middle School
· Whittle Springs Middle School
For a complete list of all the Reward Schools in Tennessee, click on the included link.