5 Hamilton County Schools Designated As Priority Schools, 3 As Focus Schools

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Five Hamilton County Schools have been designated as Priority Schools and three as Focus Schools.

Priority Schools are the five percent of schools across the state with the lowest overall performance. Those from Hamilton County are Brainerd High School, Dalewood Middle School, Orchard Knob Elementary School, Orchard Knob Middle School and Woodmore Elementary School.

Focus Schools are 10 percent of schools with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, regardless of overall performance. Those in Hamilton County are East Ridge High School, Hixson Middle School and Red Bank High School.

Other Focus Schools are Parkview Elementary and Taylor Elementary in Bradley County and Ernest L. Ross in Cleveland, as well as Doak Elementary and North Elementary in Grundy County, and Sequatchie County High School.

The Tennessee Department of Education on Tuesday announced the newest round of Priority and Focus Schools, as well as school-level TCAP results.

Tennessee’s accountability system identifies three types of schools, as required by the U.S. Department of Education: Priority, Focus, and Reward Schools. Priority and Focus Schools are named every three years, and the first designation was in 2012.

A complete list of 2014 Reward Schools (those with the highest overall performance or growth) will be released on Thursday.

All three school-level accountability lists are preliminary, pending final approval by the State Board of Education on Aug. 26. 

With the announcement of this year’s Priority Schools also comes an investment from the state of more than $7 million to support districts in turning around these lowest performing schools, officials said. Most of this money will go toward a competitive planning grant for districts that have Priority Schools. These districts will have one year to plan before their schools receive mandatory intervention, such as inclusion in the Achievement School District or a district-led “Innovation Zone.” The state is also building an intensive, regional support team to help Focus Schools close achievement gaps.

 “For the past several years, our state has been focused both on improving overall performance of all kids in Tennessee, while closing achievement gaps between historically low-performing groups of students and their peers; our school accountability system aligns with these goals,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “We’ve also made a significant financial investment in our lowest performing, or Priority Schools, and we’re starting to see signs of hope that this investment is paying off.”

 After being named Priority and Focus Schools in 2012, the previously targeted schools made gains such as:

 

·       Since being named Priority Schools in 2012, the 13 Shelby County schools in the district’s Innovation Zone have significantly outpaced the state’s growth in math and reading.

·       The majority of Priority schools across the state outpaced the average state growth in elementary, middle, and high schools. 

·       Nearly 80 percent of Focus Schools had a smaller achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their peers than the state as a whole, after two years of work.  

 

Commissioner Huffman said he was pleased with the results from the first cohort, and hoped to see the newest round of Priority and Focus Schools continue to move students forward.

 

“This is hard work, but results from the first round of Priority and Focus Schools show us that it’s doable. We’ve seen signs of hope and that’s why we believe it is critical to continue investing in these schools,” Commissioner Huffman said. “We know it is unacceptable to have entire schools where less than 20 percent of the students are proficient in reading and math, and we must, therefore, work aggressively to help turn them around.”




 


Tennessee Delegation Urges Transportation Secretary To Work With Haslam, State Officials On Highway Funds

Every member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation this week urged U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to work with Governor Bill Haslam and state officials to find a solution to a problem that threatens Tennessee with the loss of $60 million in urgently needed highway funds.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this month that a new Tennessee ... (click for more)

Couple Charged With Breaking Into TVA Building And Taking $7,500 In Items, Truck

A couple was charged with breaking into a TVA building on Hickory Valley Road and taking $7,500 in items as well as a truck. Dustin Lee Adams, 25, and Hollie Diesz, 38, are charged with theft and firearm possession. In the incident on Wednesday, TVA officials said the thieves entered the building and took several sets of keys, a Think Pad, a Nikon 300 camera, two Garmin GPS ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 40 Questions About ‘Blue Bags’

No. 1 – Did you know that one in every five of the 42,000 children in the Hamilton County school district is what the experts call “food deprived?” No. 2 – Can you get your arms around the fact that a huge percentage of those 8,400 children get little, if nothing, to eat from Friday at lunch until they return to our schools on Monday? No. 3 -- Did you know that you – just ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Baylor Volleyballers Roll Past Soddy Daisy

The 2016 high school volleyball season is only 10 days old, but the Baylor Lady Red Raiders are already playing in mid-season form. Fresh off a strong weekend where they beat perennial state power Brentwood twice en route to winning the prestigious Early Bird Tournament in Knoxville, the Lady Raiders continued that consistent strong play on Wednesday evening as they made short ... (click for more)

Nine Headed To East Ridge Hall Of Fame On Sept. 9

East Ridge will induct nine people into its Hall of Fame at halftime of the Central-East Ridge football game on Sept. 9. The 2016 inductees: 1.  DAVID COPELAND - 1964-1967. Played football and track for three years. Captain of both sports. Earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee. 2.  CARLENE ELLIOTT RYON - 1964-1967. Played basketball ... (click for more)