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'Reward' for Rogers Creek
Rogers Creek Elementary
Posted On: Friday, August 07, 2015

'Reward' for Rogers Creek, School earns spot on Progress list

autumnh | DPA Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015 11:00 am

A state report on school accountability shows one local school on a reward list, while five are on focus lists.

In accordance with Tennessee's accountability system, designed through the state's waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Tennessee Department of Education names Reward, Priority and Focus schools.

Reward Schools are the top 5 percent of schools in the state for performance - as measured by overall student achievement levels - and the top 5 percent for year-over-year progress - as measured by school-wide value-added data. These 10 percent of schools receive recognition for their success under the accountability system.

Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners.

No local schools were on the Priority Schools list, which shows the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in Tennessee in terms of academic achievement.

Reward School

* Rogers Creek Elementary School was designated a reward status of "Progress."

"That was academic achievement progress and growth from last year's data to this year's data," McMinn County Director of Schools Mickey Blevins said, adding Niota Elementary School was on the Reward Schools list about four years ago.

"That's the only one in recent memory that I can recall that has been on the reward list," he said.

On Thursday, staffers at Rogers Creek were celebrating the first half-day of school by wearing their "Warrior Pride" shirts; Rogers Creek's team name is the Warriors.

Principal Glen Puryear said Rogers Creek being on the Reward Schools list is a reason for the community to be proud not only of the school, but the students' accomplishments.

"I'm just real proud of our faculty and students for the effort they put in last year," Puryear said, adding "getting that extra recognition is always nice."

"We're just very excited about it," he said.

Focus Schools

Focus Schools are named every three years. The most recent Focus School list was approved by the State Board of Education on Aug. 26, 2014.

According to the accountability report, the following designations are used:

* BHN - Black/Hispanic/Native American Students

* ED - Economically Disadvantaged Students

* ELL - English Language Learners

* SWD - Students with Disabilities

Local schools on the Focus Schools list are:

* Athens City Middle School - SWD

* North City Elementary School - ED, SWD, BHN

* Westside Elementary School - ED, SWD

* Etowah Elementary School - SWD

"We actually showed growth last year - not a tremendous amount, but we showed growth," Etowah City School Director Dr. Mike Frazier said. "We're headed in the right direction."

In trying to close the gap between the highest achieving and lowest achieving students, they are doing their best to identify the different places "where we need to grow," like math, he added.

"We're taking those students and trying to look at our schedule and get more time on task with those children," Frazier said, adding emphasis will be placed on how to better serve those students as well as differentiation in instruction "to try to pull them up."

"We have made some gains," he said. "We're not where we want to be but we feel we're on the right track.

"Even if they all (improve at the same rate) every year, the gap is still there," Frazier said. "Trying to bring everybody up ... you still have a gap there. The gap moves along with the growth."

Etowah City School went on the Focus Schools list in August 2014, at the same time as three Athens City Schools.

"All three of those schools are Focus Schools and they were designated that at the end of school last year," Athens City Director of Schools Dr. Melanie Miller said, noting "there are processes in place to progress as you close gaps."

"This year we still had one subgroup ... that actually declined," she said. "Unfortunately, with a system as small as ours that could be one or two students."

Miller said Athens City Schools is now eligible for focus grants for all three schools; system officials should soon know whether Athens will receive grants for tools to help close gaps in subgroups.

On the bright side, Miller said the three schools are still under the "Achieve" category. Also, the school system met the majority of its Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs), and school system saw growth on the system's State Report Card. Miller said she will review the State Report Card with the School Board later this year; the state has not released the report yet.

Focus Exit

Mountain View Elementary School is on the "Focus Exit" list, designated as having demonstrated significant progress in the area or areas for which it was identified as a Focus Schools. This school is no longer considered a Focus School.

"When you're on the focus list it is a three-year process ... unless you show significant progress," Blevins said, adding Mountain View was able to exit early.

Also, Mountain View was on the list because of gap closure in the BHN subgroup, he said.

"That means all the students of Mountain View grew at a pace faster than the subgroup BHN - that increased the gap instead of decreasing it," Blevins said.

Mountain View was identified as a Focus School in the 2013-14 school year.

"We did exit that focus list in one year," he said.

Speaking about both Rogers Creek and Mountain View, Blevins said he is proud of their standings in the state report.

"We're proud of both faculties and both administrators, it took a lot of focused work on their part," Blevins said. "We're also proud for the students and the communities."

Also, Blevins said he suggested this week that school personnel celebrate, noting there will be celebrations at both schools when classes resume next week. He added he sent faculties at both schools a congratulatory email but wanted the principals to be the first to tell the employees at their schools.

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McMinn County School System | 3 South Hill St., Athens, TN 37303 | P: (423) 745-1612