Pickett County High School earns state top school achievement
Pickett County High School was among the 169 schools across the state chosen as a 2011-2012 Reward School as part of the state’s new accountability system.
The students and teachers of PCHS participated in a special webcast on Monday, August 28 featuring Governor Bill Haslam and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman who congratulated the Reward Schools for their academic achievement.
The Reward Schools are spread across 70 districts located in both major cities and rural areas of the state and 102 of the recognized schools serving mostly disadvantaged populations.
This is the first time the state has recognized Tennessee schools that have shown the most “progress” year-over-year alongside the schools with the highest “performance” achievement scores on statewide tests.
The 2011-12 Reward Schools made these impressive accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw unprecedented gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assesment Program or TCAP. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of profieciency, the 169 Reward Schools led the way.
According to the new accountability system adopted through Tennessee's No Child Left Behind waiver, the Tennessee Department of Education categorizes certain schools as either Reward, Priority or Focus. Rather than expecting all schools to meet certain proficiency targets, the new system focuses on growth and improvement recognizing that schools are starting from various levels of proficiency.
PCHS received the distinction for Reward School, in the top five percent of schools in the state for performance which is measured by overall student achievement levels with End of Course Exams and Graduation rates.
Priority Schools are the lowest performing five percent of schools in Tennessee in terms of academic achievement. There were 83 of these schools named in the state.
Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students such as racial and ethnic groups or students with disabilities. This designation does not indicate low achievement levels. Pickett County K-8 was named as a Focus School due to the recent state lowered student with disability ratio which is reflected in the school's overall achievement scores.
The new accountability system rewards growth and also recognizes schools varying baselines and helps to implement programs targeted at specific subgroups of students.
"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. We are proud of the teachers and staff at each of these schools and are excited to recognize their efforts on behalf of Tennessee students," said Governor Haslam during the online broadcast.