Dresden Elementary principal Melanie Needham explained reaching Reward School status comes as teachers build a foundation for students to become learners. ‘Even before testing grades, we emphasize skill mastery and student success.’ IPads and laptops for third and fourth graders to use in class are among the tools used for class instruction but teachers like Pam Cooper say collaboration among the teachers is also a contributing factor. Shown here are Carli Vermillion, Pam Cooper, Kris Guy, Brenden Butts and Aubree Brackett.
Westview English teacher Kristen Vernon now teaches with those that once instructed her. She says that she focuses on helping students become better writers in preparation for college, technical school, and readying their resumes. “A lot of reading is not ‘can you tell me the definition but can you apply what you’re learning,’” she observed. Her students now define her active involvement in the classroom as teaching. “I tell them I’m never going to be in my seat. I’ll be up giving you my all and that’s what I expect you to give to me,” she said. Vernon is shown here with (from left) Maddie Moore, Anna Jo Smith, Sophia Shaw, Ami Kang, Gloria Hogan, Channing Covington and Bryce Garner.
Missy Galey’s fifth graders at Greenfield School experience the emphasis on growth as they work individually – complete with private “offices” – that allow for focused attention and instruction on what they are reading.
“Report cards” are in across the state of Tennessee, but this time schools and districts are the ones receiving scrutiny. In Weakley County, the news is good as three schools gained Reward status and the district as a whole jumped to recognition as an Advancing system.
On Tuesday, August 13, the Tennessee Department of Education released the achievement information listing Dresden Elementary, Greenfield School, and Westview High as Reward Schools.
2018-19 was the second year the state implemented this new school accountability model, which looks at multiple measures of success including test scores, growth of those students who have shown progress even if their test scores are not exemplary, attendance, and, for high schools, graduation rate and Ready Graduate data like ACT scores and college credits offered. Schools across the state with the highest overall combined scores are considered Reward Schools.
(See complete story in the Aug. 21st issue of the Dresden Enterprise.)