Statement from Senator Doug Overbey regarding the Blount and Sevier County School Districts being named “Exemplary School Districts”

(NASHVILLE, TN), July 30, 2012   —  “The TCAP scores for Blount and Sevier County School Districts reveal the hard work that has been done by our teachers, students and parents,” said Senator Overbey.  “Congratulations to all of them and our school leadership for raising the bar for education and meeting the challenge head on.  This is a huge accomplishment.  Only 21 of the state’s 136 school districts and 4 special school districts were named as exemplary, and I am especially pleased that schools in both counties in the district I represent received this recognition for the gains they have made towards education excellence.”    

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The text of the release from the Department of Education is below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelli Gauthier
July 30, 2012 Phone: (615) 532-7817
[email protected]

Tennessee Names 2011-12 Exemplary School Districts

(SEVIERVILLE) — The Tennessee Department of Education today recognized school districts across the state that significantly improved student performance and narrowed achievement gaps under Tennessee’s new accountability system.

At an event in Sevier County, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced the 21 districts that earned Exemplary designations for the 2011-12 school year:

• Blount County Schools
• Claiborne County Schools
• Fayette County Schools
• Fayetteville City Schools
• Henry County Schools
• Hollow Rock-Bruceton School District
• Franklin Special School District
• Loudon County Schools
• Marshall County Schools
• McKenzie Special School District
• Milan Special School District
• Newport City Schools
• Rogersville City Schools
• Rutherford County Schools
• Sequatchie County Schools
• Sevier County Schools
• Smith County Schools
• South Carroll County Special School District
• Sweetwater City Schools
• Trousdale County Schools
• Union City Schools

These districts raised proficiency levels on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests; made substantial progress in closing gaps between groups of students; and ensured improvement for racial minorities, as well as students with disabilities, limited English proficiency and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Growing results while closing achievement gaps is incredibly hard work,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “We’re excited with the overall results across the state, and we particularly want to highlight those districts that have excelled in both areas.”

A district-by-district look at Tennessee’s growth on this year’s TCAP can be found here.
Tennessee’s new accountability system replaces No Child Left Behind’s Annual Yearly Progress measures. Rather than expecting all districts to meet the same benchmarks year after year, the new system acknowledges that districts are starting from different places and rewards those that show the most growth.
The system, adopted after Tennessee secured a waiver from part of NCLB earlier this year, looks to districts to increase achievement levels for all students and reduce achievement gaps that exist between certain groups.
In 2011-12, nearly every district in the state grew student achievement overall, but many did not successfully narrow achievement gaps or saw declines among particular student subgroups.

Districts that did not reach a majority of their achievement goals and did not significantly narrow a majority of achievement gaps are labeled as In Need of Improvement. These districts will meet in-person with department officials to set an aggressive, effective plan to meet the goals they missed last year.

Some districts met most of their goals in achievement, gap closure or even both, but saw declines among particular groups of students. These districts are In Need of Subgroup Improvement. Because the state strives to raise standards for all students, the districts labeled as In Need of Subgroup Improvement will focus efforts on addressing the declines among particular groups, such as students with disabilities.

Directors and data specialists at the Tennessee’s eight Centers Of Regional Excellence, or COREs, will support all districts in their plans to continue and expand improvement in the coming year, including fostering relationships between districts so they may learn from each other’s strengths.

A complete list of districts designated as: Exemplary, In Need of Improvement and In Need of Subgroup Improvement can be found on the department website.
For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-781.

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