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School Accountability Determinations, ACT Data Released

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has released Reward School designations for the 2015 school year. Reward Schools are the top 5 percent of schools for performance and the top 5 percent of schools for progress.

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 for having high student growth. This designation is determined by a one-year TVAAS school composite.

The TDOE has designated the following as Reward Schools in Knox County:
  • Farragut High School – Performance, Progress*
  • Powell Middle School – Progress
  • Rocky Hill Elementary School – Performance
  • Sequoyah Elementary School – Performance**
  • L&N STEM Academy – Performance*
*   2nd consecutive year as a Reward School
** 3rd consecutive year as a Reward School

“I applaud the efforts of our teachers, leaders and school communities, and their commitment to providing an outstanding education to every student,” said Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools. “To have five schools named, many of which are receiving accolades for consecutive years, is truly outstanding.”

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) also released Focus and Priority school accountability determinations for 2015 school year. In accordance with Tennessee’s new accountability system, designed through the state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Tennessee Department of Education names Reward, Priority and Focus schools each school year. Priority and Focus Schools are designated every three years. The TDOE will announce Reward Schools later in the week.

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. Based on the methodology used by the state of Tennessee this year, a school may be designated a focus school if its established achievement gap closure targets are not met by any one of the identified student groups.

“Our focus schools are often times very high performing schools that have specific achievement gaps that need to be addressed,” Dr. McIntyre said. “This designation brings focus to very specific gaps to help ensure we provide effort, energy and resources to enable all of our students to be successful.”

The TDOE designated the following as Focus Schools in Knox County for 2015 (specific achievement gap subgroup listed):
  • Bonny Kate Elementary School – Students with Disabilities
  • Central High School – Black, Hispanic, Native American
  • Chilhowee Intermediate School – Students with Disabilities
  • South-Doyle High School – Black, Hispanic, Native American
  • South-Doyle Middle School – Economically Disadvantaged
  • Fountain City Elementary School – Black, Hispanic, Native American; Economically Disadvantaged
  • Hardin Valley Elementary School – Economically Disadvantaged
  • Mooreland Heights Elementary School – Economically Disadvantaged
  • West Hills Elementary School – Economically Disadvantaged

Austin-East Magnet High School, Beaumont Magnet Academy and Inskip Elementary School were all removed from the Focus School list due to improved academic achievement.

Priority Schools are the lowest-performing five percent of schools in Tennessee in terms of academic achievement.

The Tennessee Department of Education has designated the following as Priority Schools in Knox County:
  • Green Magnet Academy
  • Lonsdale Elementary School 
  • Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy 
  • Vine Middle Magnet School 

“We have made significant changes in these four schools in terms of changes in leadership, placing effective teachers in the classroom, an intensive instructional focus and investment of significant resources,” Dr. McIntyre said. “We’ve put in place the right structures and the right ingredients for success, but it may take a few more years for us to get there. We will keep the intensive focus and the sense of urgency in making sure all of our students are successful.

“Our recently approved new five-year strategic plan is intentional about focusing on the specific learning and support needs of each one of our more than 57,000 students,” Dr. McIntyre continued. “We must intensify our efforts to support students who are struggling, specifically through personalized learning, differentiated instruction, whole child development and diligent progress monitoring.”

Performance data for school systems across the state were recently released by the ACT and the Tennessee Department of Education.
The Knox County Schools improved from a 20.2 in 2013 to a 20.4 in 2014. The State of Tennessee improved from a 19.5 in 2013 to a 19.8 in 2014. The ACT is a national college admissions exam that consists of subject area tests in English, mathematics, reading and science.

“We have coupled higher standards with effective, engaging instruction, and now we are seeing those positive results reflected in student learning and success,” McIntyre said.