Time to Celebrate! Dresden Elementary Earns National Recognition


Weakley County Schools is thrilled to announce that Dresden Elementary School is one of two schools in the State to receive the National Elementary and Secondary Education Act Distinguished School distinction. The district received notification that the school is one of only 100 across the nation that will be recognized for this exceptional achievement in 2023.

“We were thrilled to hear of this wonderful news,” Principal Melanie Needham shared. “The Dresden Elementary School team is the best you’ll find. This distinction reflects the hard work of everyone involved. The teachers, support staff, and the students working together have achieved this recognition.”

The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a prestigious national initiative that publicly honors qualifying federally funded schools for their exceptional academic accomplishments. It serves as a testament to the relentless dedication and unwavering commitment of schools across the nation that strive for significant improvements in student outcomes.

The program has been in place since 1996, showcasing the success of hundreds of schools in one of three distinguished categories:

Category 1: Exceptional student performance and academic growth, as determined by each state.

Category 2: Closing the achievement gap between student groups, as determined by each state.

Category 3: Excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g., homeless, migrant, English learners, etc.).

Dresden Elementary has a history of award-winning excellence. Over the course of the last few years, the school was named a Tennessee Reward School 2021-22 and in 2018-19, was a SCORE prize finalist in 2015, and the prestigious winner of the fourth annual SCORE prize in 2014.

Principal Needham said that working with students early has been a key part of Dresden Elementary’s success.

“A strong start in foundational learning is essential. We begin our work early with students in pre-K and kindergarten and implement interventions where needed. We target the needs of students and focus on areas of improvement with consideration for the whole child – social, emotional, and educational needs. We strive to get a little better every day,” Needham added.

Director of Schools Jeff Cupples was proud to learn of the esteemed recognition.

“This accomplishment is outstanding. As a district, we’re proud of the great work of the staff and faculty as well as the efforts of the students on their own educational path. We see the good things that we’re doing in our schools each day, but to receive recognition on the State and national level shows us that we’re on the course to success. Our district stands out in our region, in the State, and nationwide,” said Director of Schools Jeff Cupples.

Representatives from Dresden Elementary will be recognized in February at the National ESEA Conference in Portland, Oregon. The Tennessee State School Board will also recognize them at their meeting in 2024.

For more on Weakley County Schools, visit weakleycountyschools.com.