Bartlett, Arlington and Lakeland public school districts all have schools chosen as Reward Schools. Now in its first year, a new school accountability model used by the Tennessee Department of Education is measuring success statewide and awarding Reward School status accordingly.
This designation, announced Sept. 21, is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward Schools are those that are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and for student subgroups.
In the Bartlett City Schools district, Ellendale Elementary, Oak Elementary, Bon Lin Middle and Bartlett High School (including the Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy) have been awarded Reward School status, placing them among the top schools in the state for improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and student subgroups.
In 2018, 318 schools in 85 school districts–about 20 percent of schools in the state–earned Reward status.
Bartlett City Schools Superintendent Dr. David Stephens said, “Being recognized as having multiple Reward Schools is a compliment to the dedicated work that our students, teachers, staff, and parents do every day. We are extremely proud of all their efforts and look forward to building on this success.”
Likewise, Lakeland Elementary School has been named a Reward School. LES serves students in grades K-4 in the Lakeland School System and is led by principal Joretha Lockhart.
Lakeland Board of Education chairman Kevin Floyd said, “It’s easy to take for granted the sustained success of our elementary school, but the administration, teachers, and staff at Lakeland Elementary continue to find ways to improve year after year.”
Lakeland School System’s other school, the 5-8 Lakeland Middle Preparatory School that opened in August 2017, was not yet eligible for Reward School status because its first-year test results are considered baseline data by the state.
Two schools in the Arlington Community Schools district – Arlington Elementary and Donelson Elementary – were also named as Reward Schools.
In a letter written to DES and AES teachers and staff on Friday, ACS Superintendent Tammy Mason congratulated them on building upon their past successes. Since 2013, each school has been named a Reward School three times.
“Elementary school is the first point of contact many families have with our school system,” Mason wrote in the letter. “The experience they have with you can and does shape their outlook of ACS as a whole. Time and time again, as shown by these distinctions, you have proven to our families why ACS is among the best of the best.”
Overall, ACS as a whole was named an Advancing district for meeting growth expectations.
“These achievements across the district can be attributed to our teachers’ dedication to the students,” Mason said. “Despite last year’s testing challenges statewide, our teachers pushed through and demanded excellence from themselves and their students. We are proud of the commitment they’ve made to Arlington and the communities we serve.”