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HomeEducationSeven schools exit Tennessee’s toughest school improvement list

Seven schools exit Tennessee’s toughest school improvement list

Seven of 79 Tennessee schools flagged for poor academic performance in 2018 dropped off the state’s “priority list” of bottom-performing schools this year when the Tennessee Department of Education unveiled its 2020-21 school accountability lists Tuesday.
Three of the exiting schools are in Memphis, the epicenter of the state’s school improvement work for the last decade.
Sheffield Elementary, part of Shelby County Schools, and two charter schools in the state-run Achievement School District, Libertas and Cornerstone Prep Denver Campus, moved off of the priority list of schools that rank academically in the state’s bottom 5%.
The list is usually met with trepidation from school leaders of struggling schools. But because the legislature voted in January to remove any potentially negative consequences from test scores during a second pandemic year, schools can’t be added — only removed.
Priority status makes schools eligible for the state’s most intense interventions, including possible takeover by the Achievement School District, or ASD, which has mostly assigned struggling schools to charter networks since its launch in 2012.
Priority schools could come off of the list this year if their test scores were good enough. Those schools had to rank in the state’s 15th percentile for the recent academic year or the state’s 10th percentile for two straight testing years. They also could exit by earning one of two top designations for academic growth in math and reading for two straight years.
“These schools have shown how Tennessee districts and schools can overcome a variety of challenges including a global pandemic that impacted the past several months, including the majority of the 2020-21 school year,” Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement.
Tennessee’s first pandemic test scores, released last month, showed a proficiency decline of 5 percentage points since 2019, the last time that public school students took standardized tests under the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP.
But while the state’s overall scores went down, some schools did well — or well enough to improve their state proficiency ranking by percentile. Others showed a high level of growth from 2019 to 2021 under the state’s accountability model known as TVAAS, which is short for the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System.
Libertas School in Memphis was able to leave the priority list because of its performance in both proficiency and growth. The former Brookemeade Elementary School was in the state’s bottom 1% when the ASD took it over in 2015 from Shelby County Schools. Now called Libertas, the Montessori school reached the state’s 25th percentile in proficiency on the most recent tests. Libertas, which serves 485 students from the Memphis Frayser community, also ranked at the top level for student growth.
“What this means is that children in marginalized neighborhoods like Frayser can, in fact, achieve at incredibly high levels and grow extraordinarily to achieve their dreams,” said Bob Nardo, the school’s founder.
Sheffield Elementary, which is part of Shelby County Schools Innovation Zone turnaround program, exited the priority list by exceeding the 10th percentile in proficiency for two consecutive testing years.
Tennessee released its first list of 83 priority schools in 2012, with 69 of those in Memphis. Only 43 Memphis schools made the state’s last priority list in 2018, which added more schools in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jackson. High schools with a graduation rate of less than 67% also could be placed on priority status.
Pending new state or federal accountability waivers or actions, Tennessee’s next priority list is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2022, following state testing next spring.
Exits from this year’s list include two schools in Chattanooga, one in Nashville, and one in Campbell County.

Schools Exiting the Priority and Comprehensive Support and Improvement List

County

School

County

School

Campbell County

Jellico Elementary

Davidson County

Rosebank Elementary

Hamilton County

Clifton Hills Elementary

Hamilton County

Woodmore Elementary

Shelby County

Sheffield Elementary

Achievement School District

Libertas School

Achievement School District

Cornerstone Prep Denver Campus

Source: Tennessee Department of Education

Annie Fu, Chalkbeat

In response to a 2015 federal education law, Tennessee added two other designations aimed at holding schools accountable. Both lists also had exits this year.
State officials said 108 of 145 schools from 57 districts met the criteria to move off of the state’s list of schools needing targeted support and resources to close achievement gaps among student groups based on race, poverty, disabilities, and language.

Schools Exiting the Targeted Support and Improvement List

County

School

County

School

Anderson County

Clinton Middle School

Bedford County

Harris Middle School

Bedford County

South Side Elementary

Benton County

Big Sandy School

Bledsoe County

Cecil B Rigsby Elementary

Blount County

Eagleton Middle School

Blount County

Heritage Middle School

Bradley County

Taylor Elementary School

Cannon County

West Side Elementary

Huntingdon Special School District

Huntingdon Primary

Carter County

Hampton High School

Claiborne County

Ellen Myers Primary

Clay County

Celina K-8

Cocke County

Centerview Elementary

Cocke County

Cosby Elementary

Cocke County

Cosby High School

Cocke County

Northwest Elementary

Cocke County

Parrottsville Elementary

Manchester

Westwood Middle School

Tullahoma

Bel Aire Elementary

Tullahoma

West Middle School

Davidson County

Glencliff High School

Davidson County

Haywood Elementary

Davidson County

Hull-Jackson Elementary

Davidson County

Inglewood Elementary

Davidson County

Jones Elementary

Davidson County

Knowledge Academy

DeKalb County

Northside Elementary

Humboldt City Schools

Humboldt Junior/Senior High School

Humboldt City Schools

East Elementary School

Trenton

Trenton Middle School

Giles County

Richland Elementary

Greene County

Mosheim Elementary

Greeneville

C Hal Henard Elementary

Hamblen County

Meadowview Middle School

Hamilton County

Brown Middle School

Hamilton County

Ooltewah Middle School

Hardin County

Parris South Elementary

Hawkins County

Church Hill Intermediate School

Hawkins County

Hawkins Elementary

Hawkins County

Rogersville Middle School

Henry County

Henry Elementary

Hickman County

Centerville Intermediate School

Houston County

Erin Elementary

Houston County

Houston Co Middle School

Jackson County

Jackson County Middle School

Jefferson County

Jefferson Middle School

Knox County

Belle Morris Elementary

Knox County

Cedar Bluff Elementary

Knox County

Cedar Bluff Middle School

Knox County

Chilhowee Intermediate

Knox County

A L Lotts Elementary

Knox County

Inskip Elementary

Knox County

Karns Elementary

Knox County

Norwood Elementary

Knox County

West Haven Elementary

Knox County

Emerald Academy

Lawrence County

E O Coffman Middle School

Lewis County

Lewis Co High School

Fayetteville

Fayetteville High School

Madison County

Jackson Central-Merry Early College High

Marion County

Monteagle Elementary

Marion County

South Pittsburg Elementary

Marion County

Whitwell Middle School

Marshall County

Lewisburg Middle School

Maury County

Highland Park Elementary

Maury County

Mt. Pleasant Middle Visual Perform. Arts

Maury County

Spring Hill Middle School

Montgomery County

Pisgah Elementary

Morgan County

Petros Joyner Elementary

Obion County

Ridgemont Elementary

Union City

Union City Elementary School

Perry County

Linden Elementary

Perry County

Linden Middle School

Pickett County

Pickett County Elementary

Putnam County

Jere Whitson Elementary

Putnam County

Avery Trace Middle School

Roane County

Harriman Middle School

Rutherford County

Blackman High School

Rutherford County

Whitworth-Buchanan Middle School

Rutherford County

Riverdale High School

Rutherford County

Smyrna High School

Sequatchie County

Sequatchie Co Middle School

Sequatchie County

Griffith Elementary

Sevier County

Northview Intermediate School

Sevier County

Pigeon Forge Primary

Sevier County

Sevierville Middle School

Shelby County

Highland Oaks Middle

Shelby County

Chimneyrock Elementary School

Shelby County

William Herbert Brewster Elementary School

Shelby County

Egypt Elementary

Shelby County

Gardenview Elementary

Shelby County

Hickory Ridge Middle

Shelby County

Oakhaven Elementary

Shelby County

Shady Grove Elementary

Shelby County

Treadwell Elementary

Shelby County

Whitehaven Elementary

Shelby County

Winridge Elementary

Shelby County

Southern Avenue Charter School Of Academic Excellence Creat

Sullivan County

Colonial Heights Middle

Kingsport

Ross N. Robinson Middle School

Union County

Maynardville Elementary

Union County

Paulette Elementary School

Warren County

Dibrell Elementary

Warren County

Bobby Ray Memorial

Washington County

South Central Elementary

Franklin SSD

Freedom Middle School

Wilson County

Watertown Middle School

Source: Tennessee Department of Education

Annie Fu, Chalkbeat

Federal law also requires Tennessee to use test data to identify schools needing additional support to improve the performance of similar student groups based on federal criteria. The following 18 schools from 12 districts met criteria to leave that list.

Schools Exiting the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement List

County

School

County

School

Bledsoe County

Bledsoe County Middle School

Coffee County

Coffee County Middle School

Davidson County

John Overton High

Davidson County

Margaret Allen Middle

Davidson County

Knowledge Academies High School

Davidson County

RePublic High School

Hancock County

Hancock County Elementary

Hickman County

East Hickman Middle School

McMinn County

Niota Elementary

Madison County

North Parkway Middle School

Montgomery County

Kenwood Middle

Robertson County

Springfield High School

Shelby County

Craigmont High

Shelby County

Kingsbury High

Shelby County

Overton High

Shelby County

Snowden Elementary/Middle

Sumner County

Joe Shafer Middle School

Unicoi County

Unicoi Co Middle School

Source: Tennessee Department of Education

Annie Fu, Chalkbeat

The department is scheduled to publish test results online for all Tennessee schools on the state report card by late September.
Chalkbeat data journalist Annie Fu contributed to this report.



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