Falling Water, Tenn. Christian named National Blue Ribbon School - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Falling Water, Tenn. Christian named National Blue Ribbon Schools

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Teacher Machelle Hall and Principal Lea Ann Burk with flowers from School Board member Rhonda Thurman Teacher Machelle Hall and Principal Lea Ann Burk with flowers from School Board member Rhonda Thurman
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Hamilton County's oldest elementary school has been named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School. Falling Water Elementary School was established in 1912, and has consistently been a high-performing school with strong community support.  The Blue Ribbon designation is based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among students. Falling Water is one of only six public schools to earn the designation in Tennessee.

"These schools serve as a model of excellence across the state,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “The students, teachers, administrators, and parents in these communities have made thoughtful and innovative decisions to promote student learning and deserve to be recognized for this outstanding achievement.”

The school is located on Roberts Mill Road, near Soddy-Daisy.  The school is scheduled to close next year, when a new school, combining Falling Water with Ganns Middle Valley is completed.

Principal Lea Ann Burk praises the community support of the school, which has creaky floors and all the charm of an early 20th century school building.  The school has the longest-tenured faculty in the county.  "Once teachers are here," Mrs. Burk said, "they don't want to leave."

Superintendent Rick Smith said, "When I visit Falling Water, I see as many parents as I do teachers.  When you combine that kind of community involvement with great teaching and leadership, you'll get recognized as a Blue Ribbon School."

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors elementary, middle, and high schools where students either show tremendous achievement or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap between historically underserved groups of students and their peers.

Schools are recognized in one of the following categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates: 

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at high levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between historically underserved student groups and their peers over the past five years. Academic performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are also at high levels.

The following public schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools for academic achievement:

  • Middle College High School, Shelby County Schools
  • Clovercroft Elementary School, Williamson County Schools
  • Ravenwood High School, Williamson County Schools

The following public schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools for closing gaps between groups of students:

  • Falling Water Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
  • Buchanan Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools
  • Trousdale County High School, Trousdale County Schools

Tennessee Christian Preparatory School in Cleveland was one of fifty private schools also named a National Blue Ribbon School. It is the only such school recognized in Tennessee.  Officials from each of the schools will visit Washington DC on November 9 and 10 to be recognized by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

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