Kingsport gets six Reward Schools designations from Tennessee

Rick Wagner • Aug 15, 2019 at 9:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Six Kingsport schools are among Tennessee’s best, announced as 2019 Reward Schools on Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Education, and other Northeast Tennessee districts also fared well.

Dobyns-Bennett High School and Jefferson, Johnson, Kennedy, Roosevelt and Washington elementaries received the designation based on results from the 2018-19 TNReady results. In addition, Kingsport City Schools has achieved the top composite score of 5 in value-added or TVAAS system-wide literacy, numeracy, literacy and numeracy, social studies and the overall composite. Science was a state-level field test last spring. Therefore, no results were shared or reported.

The state website went live with the results on Thursday morning, although Sullivan County released data Tuesday evening, per what Sullivan County Director of Schools David Cox called explicit TDOE permission. That data included Sullivan County’s seven Reward Schools. Hawkins County earned two.

Elsewhere in Northeast Tennessee, according to the TDOE, the K-8 Rogersville City School, a Reward School, improved third-grade English language arts scores by 17 percent over 2018; three districts saw math scores increase for students in grades 3-8: Carter, Hamblen and Johnson counties; and Johnson City was among the top 10 performing districts in all end of course exams for math and English.

To review district accountability results and school accountability results, go the TDOE website.

"We are excited and proud to share the news of our accountability scores and of so many KCS schools obtaining the prestigious Reward School designation,"  Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse said in a news release on Thursday. "Incredible things are happening across Kingsport City Schools due to the collective efforts of our exceptional students and educators. We are so proud of the unyielding commitment to excellence that has resulted in this honor for our six Reward Schools."

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn said results showed students across the state are performing better in almost all math subjects. The TNReady scores also show that more than half the schools in the state, 56 percent, improved their growth or TVAAS scores from the previous year, with 41 percent of all schools earning a level 4 or 5 TVAAS rating that measures year-to-year growth.

”I’m impressed with the improvement we’ve seen in mathematics,” Schwinn said in a news release. “The dedication of our educators, commitment to implementing high-quality materials, and unwavering student focus is what sets Tennessee apart and will continue to be the catalyst for moving our state forward.”

Reward status is the top designation a school can earn in Tennessee. These schools were identified as improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student sub-groups. Reward School status is a key designation under Tennessee’s school accountability system. This was the second year Tennessee implemented its new school accountability system model, which was developed with educators and stakeholders across the state and examines multiple measures of success.

The naming of Reward Schools is part of the State’s release of accountability data for the 2018-19 school year. Tennessee’s school accountability system was developed through a 16-month process of gathering feedback and input from students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members.

Tennessee has had Reward Schools and Priority Schools since 2012, but this was the second year with an updated methodology as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Starting next school year, according to current plans, the state will give each school system an overall A-F ranking, although school officials, including retired Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski, have decried reducing a school system to a single letter grade.