State officials named two Blount County schools — Fairview Elementary and Friendsville Elementary schools — and two Maryville schools — Foothills Elementary and Montgomery Ridge Intermediate schools — as Reward Schools.
Only 168 Tennessee schools received the designation, which represent the top 5 percent of schools for annual student growth and top 5 percent for academic achievement. Of these schools, 67 were recognized for overall academic achievement and 84 were recognized for annual value-added growth. Seventeen of the 168 Reward Schools earned both designations, rising to the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state's top 5 percent for overall achievement.The state Department of Education recognized:
• Fairview Elementary School for progress;
• Friendsville Elementary School for progress;
• Foothills Elementary School for performance;
• Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School for performance and progress.
Reward Schools were located in 49 of the state's 136 school districts, and 90 recognized schools serve predominately economically disadvantaged populations.
"We're pleased and proud of those two schools," said Blount County Director of Schools Rob Britt. "In 2012, the state Department of Education first recognized Friendsville Elementary as a Reward School. They've done it again this year, and Fairview Elementary has posted tremendous gains in the last several years. The (Reward School) designation is a hard target to hit."
In the past three years, seven Blount County schools have been named Reward Schools a total of eight times. Carpenters Elementary, Friendsville Elementary, Union Grove Middle and Walland Elementary were named 2011-12 Reward Schools. Heritage High and Prospect Elementary were named 2012-13 Reward Schools.
"In the past three years, every level has been recognized: elementary, middle and high school," Britt said. "One-third of our schools have been named Reward Schools. We're proud of all of our schools, especially the ones that have went on to achieve this designation. It's a tribute to principals, teachers and staff members working together to deliver great instruction. It's also a tribute to our students and their families who are buying into those schools and excelling at high levels."
'Quite an honor'
"It's quite an honor," said Maryville Director of Schools Mike Winstead. "Foothills, which is only eligible for its achievement as a K-3 school, has been named a Reward School for the past three years. Montgomery Ridge had an outstanding year, reaching a point that only 17 schools in the entire state met."
In the past three years, six Maryville schools have been named Reward Schools a total of eight times. Foothills Elementary, John Sevier Elementary and Sam Houston Elementary were named 2011-12 Reward Schools. Foothills Elementary, Maryville High and Maryville Junior High were named 2012-13 Reward Schools.
"We hope to see even more Reward Schools in the next several years as we close achievement gaps," Winstead said. "Sam Houston and Maryville Junior High were in the Top 5 percent for achievement, but they were eliminated due to declines in their subgroups. Coulter Grove Intermediate, which has only been open two years, was also close in achievement. It's extremely possible we could have all seven schools as candidates in the near future."
By Matthew Stewart , The Daily Times