Hamilton County Schools increases Reward Schools for 2018
Posted on 09/28/2018
Logo of Reward schools for 2018Hamilton County Schools had 17 schools recognized as Reward schools in an announcement on Friday by Education Commissioner Candice McQueen releasing the 2018 Reward and Priority schools in the state. The release listed the district as performing at a Satisfactory achievement level in the data announcement. The release was part of the first year of the implementation of the Tennessee school accountability model which includes multiple measures of success.

The Reward schools for Hamilton County Schools are Allen Elementary, Apison Elementary, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Normal Park Museum Magnet, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Lower School, McConnell Elementary, Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State, Loftis Middle, Lookout Mountain Elementary, Hixson Elementary, Nolan Elementary, Signal Mountain Middle/High, Soddy Elementary, Westview Elementary, and STEM School Chattanooga.

Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward schools are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for the categories of all students and students groups.

Hamilton County Schools had nine schools included in the list of Priority schools for 2018. Priority schools fall into the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state test scores over the past three years and have low graduation rates. Due to problems in the administration of the spring, 2018 TNReady tests, legislation was passed that did not allow the use of 2018 results in identifying Priority schools. The testing problems and disqualification of scores for 2018 did not allow these schools to use the most current data to determine the impact of the new Opportunity Zone and administrations efforts.

The Priority schools for Hamilton County Schools are Brainerd High, Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, Clifton Hills Elementary, Dalewood Middle, Hardy Elementary, The Howard School, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle, and Woodmore Elementary.

“It is encouraging to have 17 schools recognized as Reward schools by the state, and the district will work to build on the success of these schools,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “As we look at the report, the challenge is how to leverage our partnership with the state and community to reduce the opportunity gap between schools and ensure brighter possibilities for the future of all children in Hamilton County.”

One of the first actions by Dr. Johnson upon taking over as district superintendent was to establish the Opportunity Zone for twelve of the system’s historically under-performing schools. The immediate focus on improvement in these schools halted talk of a state takeover of five of those schools and led to a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education to bring academic success to the schools and children.

“We were a year ahead of the state in determining that these schools were in need of extra support, which led us to create the Opportunity Zone,” said Jill Levine, chief of the Opportunity Zone. “All of these schools are receiving intensive coaching and ongoing support in the recruiting of top teachers, providing powerful core instruction, creating more engaging learning opportunities and developing a community network around our schools to support the whole child more effectively.”

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 our children.

“The state may have us listed as Satisfactory, but we are not satisfied,” Dr. Johnson added. “Improvement will come with our dedicated board, staff and community working together to implement the action plan Future Ready 2023 to become the fastest improving school district in Tennessee.”