Northside Elementary Named "Reward School"

August 22, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman have announced 168 schools including one in DeKalb County as the 2013-14 Reward Schools, the top 5 percent of schools in the state for academic achievement and the top 5 percent for annual growth.

Northside Elementary School is DeKalb County's 2014 Reward School for progress (high student growth).

DeKalb West School is among the 2015 Focus Schools due to an achievement gap in the Gap Pathway Subgroup of Students with Disabilities versus Non-Students with Disabilities.

The Reward Schools span 49 districts across Tennessee and include 90 schools that serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations.

“Tennessee teachers and students continue to show their dedication to teaching and learning,” Haslam said at an event held at Hazelwood Elementary in Clarksville, recognized for both its high overall achievement and strong growth. “Our Reward Schools are leading the state in progress and performance, and we are thrilled to recognize the extraordinary efforts of staff and students at these Tennessee schools.”

Schools are designated as Reward for performance for overall student achievement. This designation is determined annually by a one-year success rate. A success rate is calculated by adding together the total number of proficient or advanced students in each subject and dividing by the total number of test takers for each subject.

Schools are designated as Reward for progress, such as Northside Elementary, for having high student growth. This designation is determined by a one-year TVAAS school composite.

This year’s list recognizes 67 schools for overall academic achievement and 84 schools for annual value-added growth. The list also names 17 schools that 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.

In general, Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners. More specifically, schools are designated as Focus Schools in one of three ways:

1. Gap Pathway: The school has one of the largest gaps in the State for the indicated subgroup.
2. Subgroup Pathway: The school has a composite proficiency rate below 10 percent for the indicated subgroup.
3. Graduation Rate Pathway: The school has a graduation rate below 60 percent.

These 10 percent of schools (Reward Schools) receive recognition for their success, and the department interviewed the 2013 Reward Schools to compile best practices for schools across the state. “Learning From The Best: Promising Practices from Tennessee’s 2013 Reward Schools” identifies themes and promising practices in leadership, instruction, and school climate. You can view the report online at http://tn.gov/education/data/doc/learning_from_reward_schools.pdf.

“We believe there are many lessons to be learned from these top performing schools. Every student deserves a school where they will be supported and challenged, and we are excited to share best practices that have proven successful,” Huffman said. “Because our accountability system recognizes growth and different starting points, we have enormous diversity in our Reward Schools.”

A complete list of 2014 Reward Schools is available here: http://www.tn.gov/education/data/accountability/schools_2014.shtml.

School-level achievement data is available here: http://tn.gov/education/data/tcap_2014_school.shtml.

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