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TN schools rewarded for growth, achievement | News

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TN schools rewarded for growth, achievement
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By Marie Giordano, The Tennessean

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin
Huffman on Monday singled out 169 schools statewide for their students'
performance on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, tests.

Reward
Schools are the top 5 percent of schools that showed significant growth
and/or academic achievement on standardized tests. Reward Schools are
spread across 70 districts, in major cities as well as suburban and
rural areas. In Middle Tennessee, Cheatham County, Franklin Special,
Metro Nashville, Murfreesboro City, Maury County, Rutherford County,
Sumner County, Wilson County and Williamson County schools made the
list.

Of the 169 schools, 102 serve mostly economically
disadvantaged populations. Now, Huffman said, the districts can be
studied to "identify best proven practices."

Haslam and Huffman and a host of county and state officials converged at Kenrose Elementary School in Brentwood for the announcement, which was streamed live online to schools throughout the state.

In
between performances by the Ravenwood High School band and
cheerleaders, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also spoke via
webcast, congratulating and giving thanks to teachers and students. "I
hope Tennessee goes to an entirely new level next year," Duncan said.

Kenrose is among 39 schools in the state that achieved high academic achievement as well as significant year-over-year learning gains.

The
Reward Schools designation is part of the state's new accountability
system, which replaced the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Schools
singled out for progress were in the top 5 percent for year-over-year
progress as measured by schoolwide value-added data. Schools cited for performance were in the top 5 percent as measured by overall achievement levels.

In
the past month, the state has released a handful of accountability
lists based on TCAP scores, including those named "exemplary" schools.
It also identified Focus Schools, which are the 10 percent of schools
across the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of
students, and Priority Schools, or those in the bottom 5 percent of
overall performance across tested grades and subjects.

Haslam told
the more than 800 Kenrose Elementary students that officials spend a
lot of time talking about what's not working in schools and this was a
time to talk about schools that are working. "Thank you for working
hard, and thank you for showing the rest of the world that Tennessee is
just as good as anyone else," he said.

Kenrose Elementary
Principal Marilyn Webb learned last week that the school, which serves
kindergarten through fifth grade, had been named a Reward School. She
chalks up her school's success to dedicated teachers who tailor teaching
to students' learning styles.

"We have been very committed to the
scope and sequence, and now we've committed to common core curriculum,"
Webb said. "Our teachers are trying to teach to that deeper level of
learning."

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