Hamilton County Has 6 Of State's Top Achieving Schools; Bradley Lists 1

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced 168 schools as the 2013-14 Reward Schools, the top five percent of schools in the state for academic achievement and the top 5 percent for annual growth. Hamilton County has six Reward Schools and Bradley County has one.

Reward Schools in Hamilton County are Allen Elementary, Chattanooga Girls' Leadership Academy, Hamilton County Middle College High School, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Snow Hill Elementary and Thrasher Elementary.

Michigan Avenue School in Bradley County was included.

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,” Governor 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.”

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 five percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state’s top 5 percent for overall achievement.

These 10 percent of 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.

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA), Tennessee’s first single-gender STEM public charter school, has earned removal from the state’s High Priority List and has also attained Reward School status for the second consecutive year, school officials noted.

“At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, CGLA was in danger of closure. After meeting
with (Hamilton County) Superintendent Rick Smith, the district gave us a chance and our
marching orders to improve our school achievement scores,” said CGLA Executive Director Dr.
Elaine Swafford. “In one year, the school went from the bottom five-percent in the state to the
top five-percent in the state and was named a Reward School for progress."

“In two years, CGLA not only came off the High Priority List from the bottom five-percent, we
were named a Reward School two years in a row,” said CGLA Co-Founder Dr. Sue Anne

Dr. Wells "attributes the outstanding turnaround to the school’s leadership, teaching to high
standards, and the commitment of parents to their students."

Dr. Swafford said she agrees that "teaching a rigorous curriculum and holding high expectations were key reasons for the hard-earned change in achievement. Our parents should be proud of their girls, the students should be proud of their performance and the teachers should be proud of their accomplishments with our students.”

The Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy is a single-gender, small learning community for girls in
grades 6-12. The college preparation curriculum is centered on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). With an extended day and a year round calendar, CGLA offers girls an accelerated and integrated remediation approach that is intended to move them to proficient and advanced levels within core academic subjects. A range of social supports that reflects girls’ social development needs is integrated into the educational experience. 

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