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Hillsboro, CHS recognized as state Reward Schools

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Coffee County Central High School and Hillsboro Elementary School were named state “Reward Schools” for progress Monday, signifying the two schools are in the top five percent of schools in the state as it pertains to progress.

josh petersonIt is the second year in a row for CHS to be named a Reward School for progress. Meanwhile, for Hillsboro it is a jump from being labeled a “focus school” to a Reward School for its progress. The two schools are among 169 schools statewide recognized as 2012-2013 Reward Schools, which recognizes the top five percent of schools in the state for annual growth and the top five percent for academic achievement. Of those, 16 were recognized for performance and growth.

The Coffee County School System was already pleased with its district results that displayed dramatic improvements in multiple areas, especially math, which was a focus last year according to school officials. But Monday’s release of individual school data emphasized the good work by Hillsboro and CHS.

Hillsboro saw a 20.3 percentage-point growth in math students testing proficient or advanced for a total of 68.9 percent of students who were tested being labeled proficient or advanced. Hillsboro also saw a 5.2 percentage-point growth in science for a total of 63.8 percent of students tested scoring proficient or advanced.

There was a decline in reading and language arts of -2 percentage-points compared to the previous year.

 “Based on the data, this year we will have an emphasis on reading and language arts,” said Stephen Blessing, director of middle school instruction and testing with the Coffee County School System.

At Central High School the biggest growth came in Algebra 1 where there was a 13.4 percentage-point growth in students testing proficient or advanced – a jump to 71.9 percent compared to the year before. English I also saw significant improvement with a 10.5 percentage-point growth to 77.2 percent of students testing scoring in the proficient or advanced range. Biology I saw a 9.5 percentage-point growth and English III jumped 5.8 percentage points. Algebra II dipped -8 percentage points and U.S. History saw a slight decline of -1.3 percentage points. US History still saw 97.8 percent of students test proficient or advanced.

“Tennessee continues to set the standard in education reform as we maintain our focus on high levels of achievement and continuous growth,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam at an event held at Percy Priest Elementary, recognized for its overall academic achievement. “Our Reward Schools have proven that all students can learn and grow even though their starting lines may be different, a critical part of our effort to prepare our students for the jobs available in the marketplace now and in the future. We are incredibly grateful for the teachers and staff at each of these schools and excited to recognize their efforts on behalf of Tennessee students.”

The 2012-13 Reward Schools made these accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw consistent gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the 169 Reward Schools led the way.

Because Tennessee’s accountability system rewards growth and recognizes schools’ varying baselines, every school in the state can strive for the Reward Schools designation.

“We believe that all students deserve strong schools where they can grow to high levels of achievement,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “At the beginning of each year, every school in this state should know that they have a shot at becoming a Reward School.” …

Read more on this story in next week’s (Aug. 28) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or full online edition of the paper.