Northside Elementary Makes List of State’s “Reward” Schools for 2022-23

February 22, 2024
By: Dwayne Page

Northside Elementary School has made the list of Tennessee’s highest performing schools and districts.

In a report released Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Education gave hundreds of schools “reward” status for the 2022-23 school year, meaning they demonstrated high levels of performance, met specific goals to improve performance or both. The department also released names of districts that need improvement.

“The Reward school status for Northside Elementary School is a credit to the students as well as the faculty and staff for the work they have done. They have met and gone above the standards the state has set forth. They have worked hard and done a really good job,” said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps.

Third district School Board member Jim Beshearse also released a statement.

“I would like to congratulate Northside Elementary School for being named a “reward” school. Seventeen Upper Cumberland schools were recognized as “reward” schools for outstanding performance and/or improvement in performance during the last school year. This list includes six Putnam County schools, three in Overton County, two each in Cumberland, Jackson, and White counties, and one each in DeKalb and Van Buren counties. Some 400 schools statewide received the honor from the State Board of Education. A “reward” school has an overall school score of 3.1 or higher per federal accountability. According to the state, these schools demonstrate high levels of performance across numerous indicators that judge student success,” said Beshearse.

“I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of Northside Elementary School for earning this reward. I also want to say to each and every school in DeKalb County that I truly appreciate each and every one of you and thank you for always going above and beyond to make DeKalb county schools the best,” said Beshearse.

Typically the state also releases a list of priority schools, which are consistently low-performing schools that fall into the bottom 5% of the state’s standardized test scores or have low graduation rates.

However, the department did not release a priority schools list this year. It provided this statement as an explanation:

“After delays in federal accountability approvals from the U.S. Department of Education, and the first-ever implementation of the A-F school letter grade law this school year, the department has elected not to update the state’s priority school list and focus on supporting schools and districts in the implementation of policies and strategies designed to improve student outcomes.”

In a news release sent Tuesday, the department detailed the categories considered in determining each designation. They include:

•Preparing students to be proficient
•Accelerating student learning
•Encouraging students to attend school regularly
•Preparing students for postsecondary success
•Supporting English learners as they build language skills

A total of 400 schools across 98 districts earned reward status this year. The distinction emphasizes performance and improvement across all the success indicators from the previous year, according to the department.

Notably, six schools moved from the 2021-22 priority schools list to the 2022-23 reward schools list.

Those include:
•Arrow Academy of Excellence (Memphis-Shelby County Schools)
•KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle (Memphis-Shelby County Schools)
•KIPP Memphis Academy Middle (Memphis-Shelby County Schools)
•Memphis Business Academy Hickory Hill Middle School (Memphis-Shelby County Schools)
•Ida B. Wells Elementary (Metro Nashville Public Schools)
•Tom Joy Elementary (Metro Nashville Public Schools)

Twelve districts earned exemplary status, meaning they received an overall district performance score of 3.1 or higher on a 4-point scale.

Those districts are:
•Bells City Schools
•Bledsoe County Schools
•Bradford Special School District
•Dyer County Schools
•Dyersburg City Schools
•Franklin Special School District
•Gibson County Special School District
•Johnson City Schools
•Rogersville City Schools
•Sweetwater City Schools
•Tennessee School for the Deaf
•Trousdale County Schools

Seven districts were listed as “in need of improvement.” That means their overall final score falls into the bottom 5% of all districts, according to the education department website.

Those districts are:
•Achievement School District
•Cannon County Schools
•Hickman County Schools
•Houston County Schools
•Pickett County Schools
•Robertson County Schools
•South Carroll County Special School District

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