County schools get top report card
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Nov 24, 2013 | 1773 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County school system recently received top scores in part of its state report card.

The Tennessee Department of Education released its “Report Card on Tennessee Schools” for the 2012-2013 school year, and Bradley County scored all 5’s in the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System analysis.

Often abbreviated to TVAAS, that part of the report card measures student performance in math, reading and language arts, science and social studies. A score between 1 and 5 is assigned for four categories: Numeracy to measure math skills; Literacy to measure reading and language arts skills; Literacy and Numeracy to measure both; and Composite to measure all subjects.

Five is the highest score that can be given. County schools collectively received the highest numbers in all categories of the TVAAS assessment. It was the third consecutive school year Bradley County had scored 5 in all of them.

“This to me has been one of the more powerful statements on the report,” said Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel. “It speaks to the hard work of our teachers.”

High school grades are assigned figures that play into TVAAS, and all the local high schools’ results were higher than had been predicted the previous year. However, the school system received slightly less favorable changes in other areas, like how high school students perform on college entrance exams.

ACT scores have continued to fall from year to year. Bradley County students on average earned a composite score of 18.2 in the 2012-2013 year. The year before, the average composite score had been 18.7.

“Those scores have dropped over the past few years,” McDaniel said. “We’re working hard to explore them as barometers of [students’] performance.”

He said the two high schools in the system — Bradley Central and Walker Valley — had increasingly been encouraging students to take the college entrance exam and consider the possibility of attending college.

Students who typically did not earn high grades and consider themselves candidates for college were being encouraged to take the exam to see how they would need to improve in order to attend college, McDaniel added.

Elementary and middle schools are given letter grades on the report card. The Bradley County schools collectively received all A’s and B’s in academic achievement for the 2012-2013 school year. The school system received A in grades 3-8 math, A in social studies, B in reading and B in science. Last year, local elementary and middle schools only received an A in social studies; the rest of the grades were B’s.

Each individual school in the system is also assigned letter grades to evaluate how students perform.

For the 2012-2013 year, four schools received all A grades in the category of achievement — Charleston, Hopewell, Michigan Avenue and North Lee Elementary Schools.

Only one school in the Bradley County school system received all A’s in growth. Charleston Elementary School received that designation, meaning it was the top earner in both categories.

Four schools received all A’s and B’s in both categories — the Black Fox, Hopewell, North Lee and Prospect Elementary Schools.

Finally, nine schools received all A’s and B’s in achievement. Those schools were the Black Fox, Hopewell, Michigan Avenue, North Lee, Oak Grove, Prospect, Valley View and Waterville Community Elementary Schools and Ocoee Middle School.

“All of our schools did very well,” McDaniel said. “There were no failing schools.”

Charleston Elementary School Principal Jodie Grannan said she was surprised to learn that her school was the only one in the school system to reach the goal of making all A’s in both achievement and growth.

Still, she said all the teachers were excited to eliminate the only B grade on their report card last year — the one in reading growth.

Grannan said she attributed the success to more teacher training. The school’s staff had continued to learn how they could better teach under the Common Core state standards.

Charleston Elementary had previously been listed a Focus school under Tennessee’s Race To The Top accountability program, which replaced No Child Left Behind last year. Grannan said the school was able to receive grant money that allowed them to bring in a consultant to help teachers learn how to better help economically disadvantaged students.

“We probably had more professional development than we have in a long time,” Grannan said.

Though she said the school’s teachers had just held a party — complete with cake — to celebrate the state report card grades, she added that the school would continue to work on improving.

“The teachers work very hard, and the students work very hard to reach their goals,” Grannan said.