7 local schools named Reward Schools
By Matthew Stewart| (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NASHVILLE — The state Department of Education has named seven Blount County and Maryville schools as 2011-12 Reward Schools.
During Monday’s ceremony at Kenrose Elementary School in Brentwood, state officials named four Blount County schools — Carpenters Elementary, Friendsville Elementary, Union Grove Middle and Walland Elementary — and three Maryville schools — Foothills Elementary, John Sevier Elementary and Sam Houston Elementary — as Reward Schools.
Only 169 Tennessee schools received the designation.
Reward Schools were located in 70 of the state’s 136 school districts, and 102 recognized schools serve predominately economically disadvantaged populations.
Reward Schools represent the top 5 percent of schools for annual student growth and top 5 percent for academic achievement.
Nearly one quarter of the 169 Reward Schools earned both designations, rising to the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state’s top 5 percent for overall achievement, according to a new accountability system adopted through Tennessee’s No Child Left Behind waiver.
State officials recognized:
• Carpenters Elementary School for performance and progress;
• Foothills Elementary School for performance;
• Friendsville Elementary School for progress;
• John Sevier Elementary School for progress;
• Sam Houston Elementary School for performance;
• Union Grove Middle School for progress;
• Walland Elementary School for progress.
Blount ‘extremely proud’
School officials were enthusiastic about the recognition.
“I’m extremely proud of the teachers and students who accomplished the extraordinary results that led to them being named reward schools,” said Blount County Director of Schools Rob Britt. “It’s a direct reflection of exceptional educators working with bright, motivated students. We appreciate everyone who has contributed to these outstanding results.”
The state Department of Education’s announcement was delivered four weeks after state officials named Blount County Schools as one of the state’s 21 exemplary school districts.
“All of these accolades are tributes to the great teaching and learning going on in our school system,” Britt said. “We’re providing a high quality education for the students in our school system.”
“Our elementary schools do a wonderful job preparing students for the next level,” said Maryville Assistant Director of Schools Mike Winstead. “They provide some of the best educational experiences in the state of Tennessee and the nation. It’s great to see all three recognized.”
Winstead wanted to publicly thank employees for their hard work. “Success starts with good leadership. We have great principals, leadership team members, teachers and TAs (teaching assistants). We appreciate the full effort of all our employees and appreciate everything they do for our children.”
School officials hope to have additional Reward Schools next year, he said. “They’re all looking at the criteria right now. We hope this year is just the beginning.”
Overbey: ‘significant accomplishment’
State officials offered their own congratulations Monday to the two school districts.
State Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, publicly complimented the county’s seven Reward Schools. “This is a very significant accomplishment. I am very proud of our teachers, students, parents, administrators and support staff for reaching this goal. I congratulate them for their hard work and perseverance in the pursuit of education excellence. I know we will see even more of our local schools reach this category in the future.”