Cloudland, Hampton elementary schools named as ‘Reward Schools’

Published 9:35 am Monday, October 30, 2017

Two schools in the Carter County School System were named Reward Schools by the state for their achievement growth, but the news for the system’s overall rating was not as positive.

While the system earned an overall score that would have qualified them as an “Achieving” system, one subset of students missed the test participation mark by one percent which immediately moved Carter County into the “In Need of Improvement” designation.

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Both Cloudland Elementary and Hampton Elementary attained Reward School status due to being in the top 5 percent of student achievement growth across the state.

“I’ve talked with both of the principals, Brandon Carpenter and Becky Raulston, and told them how proud we are of them as a system,” said Director of Carter County Schools Dr. Kevin Ward. “I am very proud of Mr. Carpenter and Ms. Raulston and their staff for their accomplishments.”

Both of the principals credit their teachers and staff for their successful growth in student achievement.

“It’s a great honor really,” Raulston said regarding Cloudland Elementary being named a Reward School. “I’m impressed with our staff. They do a good job every day and work hard.”

Carpenter echoed that sentiment regarding his own staff.

“I’m proud of them. They worked really hard,” Carpenter said. “We have a really good staff that really cares about the kids.”

Carpenter also thanked Carter County Board of Education member Kelly Crain, who represents the Hampton district, for the support he gives to the school.

As a whole, the school system received good marks in nearly every category of the standards and goals in the state’s testing, according to Dr. Jerri Beth Nave, who serves as the system’s Director of Federal Projects and also works with the data from state testing.

The state standards set goal for the school system to hit not only in all of the test subjects but in 24 categories which include specific sub-groups of students, such as those with disabilities or those who are economically disadvantaged.

Once all the results are calculated, the system is given an overall score. School systems are placed into one of four categories: In Need of Improvement, Progressing, Achieving, and Exemplary.

The school system received a composite score of 2.93, which would have designated Carter County as an “Achieving” school system. A score of 3.0 is considered an “Exemplary” school system.

“When you look at our goals, we did meet the majority of them,” Nave said.

The school systems are also graded on student participation in testing, with the state requiring that at least 95 percent of the students participate in the test.

“We met that 95 percent in every area except for one,” Nave said. “In our students with disabilities in high school math, we were at 94 percent. That alone makes us a system in need of improvement.”

Nave said there are 102 students in the school system in the sub-group of students with disabilities who were required to participate in testing for integrated math. Of those 102, a total of 96 students participated in the test while 6 did not.

Because the school system missed the one category of test participation the school system as a whole was rated as “In Need of Improvement” despite meeting the majority of the goals and earning a score that would have named them as “Achieving,” Ward said.

Moving forward from the test results, Ward said the school system has some things it will be focusing on during the current school year.

One of those areas, Ward said, will be promoting the importance of test participation. The other will be an academic focus on math for the middle school and high school grades.

In recent years, the school system had shifted to an integrated math model but that has now changed.

“We have decided to go back to the Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry model,” Ward said, adding that change was implemented this school year.

The school system also implemented a Math Coach position which works with math teachers across the whole system to develop curriculum and benchmarks for the classroom.