CGLA Celebrates Teachers’ Impact And Student Growth

Friday, September 7, 2018

CGLA earned the top TVAAS score for the 2017 – 18 school year and was presented a
Level 5 School banner by Hamilton County Department of Education’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Nakia Towns Edwards on Friday. The academy’s impressive composite score, which increased by
two points over the previous school year, can largely be attributed to the “intentional and purposeful 
intervention and instruction” CGLA’s faculty provides according to school Principal, Maryo Beck. Beck, who joined the CGLA family as the Dean of Students in 2012- says the school has grown tremendously and aims to employ the brightest and most passionate educators around. The academy currently employs Alicia Bland who was one of four math teachers in Tennessee to receive the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and English Language Arts teacher, Jen Semanco, who was one of 38 educators in the state selected for the 2018 – 19 Tennessee Educator Fellowship.

Since opening, CGLA has remained dedicated to reaching underserved girls and providing them with the advantaged education and support they deserve. While the first few years for the charter were challenging- CGLA found its self on the state priority list and facing closure- the school has made a dramatic turnaround and is now known for its success. CGLA has won numerous awards and is now recognized as a Level 5 school.

The mission of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy is to provide girls and young women with a rigorous college preparatory education focused on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM) in a supportive environment that nurtures self-confidence, inspires leadership, encourages critical thinking, and promotes academic excellence.

The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment Score (TVAAS) measures educators’ impact on students each year by examining student performance and growth in five subject areas: literacy and numeracy (graded together and separately), science and social studies. Scores range from a low one to a high five and are determined by end of year assessments.

The all-girls charter, celebrating its tenth school year and third year at capacity, hopes to capitalize on the previous year’s success and continue making improvements. Beck says the goal for the 2018 – 19 year is to maintain the TVAAS score while increasing the number of students scoring on track and above on assessments. With the same level of instruction provided again this year, he feels confident the students can help make this happen. “They show up every day committed to learning and maximizing each opportunity.”

Within the last year, CGLA has been one of 27 schools in the state awarded a facilities grant and
recognized as a successful, high-quality charter by the Tennessee Department of Education, named
Nonprofit of the Year by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and one of 15 schools in
Tennessee to receive the STEM School designation. CGLA’s graduating class of 25 committed to
completing their post-secondary education and earned more than $342,000 in scholarships. The
academy is poised to continue making a positive impact and welcomed back last year’s leadership to include well-known educator and CEO, Dr. Elaine Swafford.

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