By MARINA WATERS
The state recently named the Washington County School District an exemplary school system. But the district also gained good news for a few Washington County Schools in particular.
West View Elementary was named a 2017 reward school for progress by the state along with 85 other schools in Tennessee.
For Washington County Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton, the recognition proves the strides the school has made in terms of growth.
“Historically, West View has been our lowest achieving school in terms of achievement and growth,” Halliburton said. “Last year, Mr. Gamble and I really started having dialogue about how West View can’t continue to be the lowest in growth and the lowest in achievement. I applaud him and the staff. We had some pretty critical conversations centered around that.”
According to Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, which measures student growth over a year, West View went from scoring a one for the 2014 to 2015 school year in it’s overall composite score (the lowest possible) to earning a five for the 2016 to 2017 school year (the highest possible). The school also received all fives in literacy, numeracy, literacy and numeracy combined and science last school year after scoring ones and twos in the 2014 to 2015 school year.
West View wasn’t the only school rewarded for improving student performance; Gray Elementary and Jonesborough Middle School were both recognized as focus exit schools.
The state’s focus school list includes the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students. Gray and Jonesborough Middle were two of 15 schools to have exited this focus list in 2017.
“Gray and Jonesborough Middle were both focus schools in that they were not meeting their state targets in the percentage of kids at that time who were scoring in proficient or advanced,” Halliburton said. “They have now been labeled ‘focus exit.’ They’re off that list so we have a lot to be proud of.”
Gray and Jonesborough Middle also received improved scores according to TVAAS results. Gray received all fives for the 2016 to 2017 school year after receiving all twos and threes for the 2014 to 2016 school year. Jonesborough Middle received fours and fives after receiving threes, fours and fives.
Though the state recognized these three specific Washington County Schools for improving its scores, the director said each school is a contributing factor in the school system’s exemplary district status.
“To get the exemplary results we’ve gotten as a district, regardless of whether you’re a reward school or not, your school played a huge part in the achievement levels and the growth levels that we’ve gotten,” Halliburton said. “Very proud of our reward schools because they’re going above and beyond, but proud of all of our schools because you don’t get these kinds of results unless every school is progressing and closing the gaps between those student groups.”