Fayette-Ware achieves Reward School status

Fayette-Ware High School has been named one of 169 Tennessee schools to achieve Reward School status for the 2011/12 year.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced last Monday that Fayette-Ware was among the top 5 percent of schools in the state for annual growth and the top 5 percent for academic achievement.

The Reward Schools are spread across 70 districts, located in major cities as well as rural areas, and 102 of the recognized schools serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations.

“Tennessee is leading the way in education reform, and these schools demonstrate two key focuses of education in our state: high levels of achievement and continuous growth,” Haslam said. “Job creation and education are inextricably linked, and continuing our momentum in education reform is important as we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. We are proud of the teachers and staff at each of these schools and excited to recognize their efforts on behalf of Tennessee students.”

For the first time, the state has recognized Tennessee schools that have shown the most progress year-over-year alongside the schools with the highest achievement scores on statewide tests.

Nearly a quarter of the 169 schools on the Reward School list actually 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, according to a new accountability system adopted through Tennessee’s No Child Left Behind waiver.

Twenty schools from Memphis City Schools and four from Shelby County achieved Reward status.

The 2011/12 Reward Schools made the accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw unprecedented gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the 169 Reward Schools led the way.

Because Tennessee’s new accountability system rewards growth and recognizes schools’ varying baselines, every school in the state can strive for the Reward Schools designation, Huffman said.

“We believe that all students deserve strong schools where they can grow to high levels of achievement,” Huffman said. “At the beginning of each year, every school in this state should know that they have a shot at becoming a Reward School.”