Hamilton County Schools surpassed the state in five of eight subject areas on TNReady
Posted on 08/15/2019
Children learning roboticsHamilton County Schools made history yesterday with the release of district growth data showing the district at an overall Level 5, Level 5 in the district for all five categories, Level 5 status for 45 schools, 21 of those schools with Level 5 in all categories, and 32 Reward schools. The statewide achievement results for TNReady released by Commissioner Penny Schwinn today provides even more good news regarding student achievement in Hamilton County Schools. The district outperformed the state in five of eight-grade band subject areas where no accountability areas were above the state last year. The district ranks first out of 142 districts in student growth index in grades 3-5 and second out of 146 districts in overall student growth.

Hamilton County Schools, as a district, ranked second in the state for overall TVAAS composite index score. The district was first in grades 3-5, sixteenth in the state in grades 6-8, and seventeenth in grades 9-12.  

Above state chart

“Yesterday’s results showed the district's rate of improvement is significantly above the state. Today’s information shows our children’s absolute achievement is outperforming the state and these results are a testament to the tireless efforts of our teachers, staff, and students with the support of our families,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “We came to this community a little over two years ago with the target of becoming the fastest-improving school district in the state. The needle has moved quickly, and it is time to focus on becoming one of the best school districts in Tennessee for the future of our children and our community.”

Hamilton County Schools was one of four districts in the Southeast region of the state to improve grades 3-8 math scores. The district was above the state in both 3-5 math and 6-8 math (see chart on the left). Hamilton County Schools was above the state in 3-5 grade English language arts, and math; 6-8 grade math and social studies; and 9-12 U.S. History. 

EOC Graphic 

In the state’s news release, Hamilton County Schools was recognized for improving English language arts, and end-of-course exams by at least five percent.  The district made achievement gains in nearly all areas compared to last year and improved achievement faster than the state in seven of eight areas.  The most significant gains came in math in 3-5 grade, and 6-8 grade and in all areas in grades 9-12.  High schools saw double-digit gains in U.S. History and above five percent growth in every high school content area.  Super subgroup achievement also improved faster in Hamilton County Schools than the state. Super Subgroup is a combination of each of the four major subgroups that include minority populations (Black/Hispanic/Native American), economically disadvantaged, English language learners, and students with disabilities while only counting each student one time in this combined subgroup.

The progress shown by students in Hamilton County Schools was wide and deep – touching every learning community, every subject area, and every subgroup.  Hamilton County Schools has 50 unique schools with the distinction of being Level 5 for overall student growth and/or a Reward School.  

Student learning gains universally exceeded state growth expectations, and HCS teachers improved the learning trajectory for thousands of students!  That means more students will have the opportunity to realize their hopes and dreams for the future.  More graduates will find success as engineers, doctors, chemists, teachers, entrepreneurs, welders, or whatever career goal a graduate envisions for the future.

“Hamilton County Schools exceeded growth expectations for all students in every major grade band, subject category and overall,” said Justin Robertson, chief schools officer for Hamilton County Schools. “This is historic because at no time since the modern accountability era has Hamilton County Schools had 5s across the board.”

5s graphic in all categories

The Hamilton County Board of Education’s Future Ready 2023 action plan provides goals and landmarks on the journey to reaching the academic achievement levels the community desires for its schools. The district plan has led to department plans and individual school plans to support moving the district forward. Plans are focused on academic improvement for each school and each child. Future Ready 2023 action areas include accelerating student achievement across the district, providing future-ready students prepared for success after graduation, staffing our schools with great teachers and leaders, engaging the community in the education process, and providing efficient and effective operations to deliver high-quality education for the children of our community. 

Under the Future Ready 2023 plan to accelerate student achievement, the district worked to provide a deep understanding of the state standards and what children are expected to learn.  Clear learning targets posted in each teacher’s room, so students understand what they are to learn each day.  The district built rigorous assessments aligned to what students are expected to know so that teachers and students can celebrate success and focus on areas needing improvement.  Teachers and learning coaches in schools regularly shared instruction methods shown to be effective.  The opportunity gap was also addressed to provide additional time, support, and additional learning opportunities during the school day.

Future Ready 2023 will guide the district to continue the progress seen on this year’s TNReady results. The district will celebrate the results with teachers, staff, students, parents, and the community, and seek to replicate what worked across the district.  Administrators will also focus on areas that have additional opportunity for growth like literacy instruction, refining curriculum guides, investing in high-quality instructional materials, deepening the response to intervention practices for students with learning and behavior needs, and providing more support for social and emotional needs of students.

“Achieving goals set in our strategic plan is just the beginning of our journey to excellence in Hamilton County Schools,” added Superintendent Johnson. “Just as an athlete must find new ways to train the body to succeed, Hamilton County Schools must continue to adjust our teaching techniques, student supports, and educational program to remain on an upward trajectory toward excellence in each of our schools.”