Exemplary Education: ECS receives accolades for academic achievement, progress

Published 5:28 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

Countless hours of work and preparation from students, teachers and administration from Elizabethton City Schools recently garnered recognition by the State of Tennessee.
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the Tennessee 2017 Reward Schools Friday, Oct. 20 with 160 schools from 60 school districts being recognized as either Reward Performance, Reward Progress, or both.
“These schools represent what is possible for students in Tennessee as they exemplify excellence in performance or progress and in some cases, both,” said Commissioner McQueen in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star. “We want to replicate this success across the state and continue to celebrate the hard work of our educators and students happening in classrooms every day.”
West Side Elementary was able to haul in a Reward Performance nod, being in the top five percent of schools for academic achievement.
“We are so proud of the efforts at West Side Elementary from students, teachers, and Principal John Wright,” ECS Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour said Friday.
In addition to Reward Schools, McQueen also named schools that have improved from the priority and focus school list.
For 2017, T.A. Dugger Junior High was recognized as a focus-improving school, improving its previous designation as a focus school.
“We are a lot of significant improvement at T.A. Dugger and this is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved,” Dr. Gardenhour said. The middle school is currently under expansion to add more STEM-based classes and provide full ADA accessiblity.
According to information provided by the State, “the Priority school list captures the schools that are in the bottom 5 percent in academic achievement, and the Focus school list includes the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students. While new Priority and Focus schools will be published in 2018, schools have the opportunity to come off the lists every year if they make significant improvements.”
The figurative icing on the cake also came Friday with ECS being deemed an Exemplary District following the annual accountability determination for school districts by the Department of Education. Judgments reflect performance and growth in academics and achievement.
Friday’s laundry list of achievement is the culmination of hard work across the board, according to Gardenhour.
“We were able to do well in our performance objectives, and that says a lot about the dedication of everyone from the district, from the administration, teachers, students and the entire community,” the director said. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the community, our school board and the City Council. We all have the shared vision of providing the best educational opportunities for our students and we want to continue that for the future.”
Carter County’s Cloudland Elementary and Hampton Elementary were both also recognized as Reward Progress schools Friday.

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