Hamilton County Schools are rated "Satisfactory," according to new data from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Hamilton County Reward Schools are Allen Elementary, Apison Elementary, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Center for Creative Arts, CSAS Upper and Lower, Collegiate High, Hixson Elementary, Loftis Middle, Lookout Mountain Elementary, McConnell Elementary, Nolan Elementary, Normal Park Museum Magnet School, Signal Mountain Middle/High, Soddy Elementary, the STEM School and Westview Elementary.

Priority Schools are Brainerd High, Donaldson Elementary, Clifton Hills Elementary, Dalewood Middle, Hardy Elementary, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle, Howard High School and Woodmore Elementary. 

Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn, for improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students. They are considered among the top twenty percent of schools in the state. 

Priority schools are considered to be the schools most in need of support and improvement. Priority schools fall into the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state.. The 2018 Priority list includes 82 schools across eight districts, and these schools are now eligible for additional funding and will be supported by the department, in coordination with their districts, in developing a plan to improve.

“In this first year with our new system, it is incredibly encouraging to see more than 300 of our schools are earning Reward status for how they are supporting our students’ academic achievement and growth,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “At the same time, we see a number of places where we need to improve. Our new school improvement model takes a student-focused, evidence-based approach to tailor interventions for our Priority schools, and we will be working closely with these schools and their districts over the coming year to improve academic outcomes and strengthen whole-child services that support student success.”   

Tennessee’s new school accountability system was developed through a 16-month process of gathering feedback and hearing input from students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. Tennessee has designated Reward and Priority schools since 2012, but this was the first year with an updated methodology as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. As part of federal requirements, the plan was submitted to and approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

The new accountability framework is based on principles that all schools can be successful and all Tennessee students must be served well. It includes a variety of measures, including chronic absenteeism and discipline, ACT performance, and TNReady scores, to make a determination. All schools are rated both on how they serve the full student population and how they are specifically serving student groups that have historically been underserved: students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and black, Hispanic, and Native American students. This fall, the department will publish more information about how all schools perform on these measures as part of a new school dashboard that will be posted online to offer additional information to parents, educators, elected officials, and community leaders.

As part of Tennessee’s new accountability plan, all Priority schools will move into an evidence-based school improvement model, ranging from district-led plans to intervention by the state’s Achievement School District. To better support Tennessee’s lowest performing schools, the state has invested $20 million into school improvement over the last two years. This funding is specifically devoted for Priority schools.