Grainger Today Correspondent
RUTLEDGE – For the first time, the Grainger County school district has been designated an Exemplary School System by the State Department of Education.
In addition, Bean Station Elementary was recognized as a Reward Progress School and Rutledge Elementary exited the Focus watch list as a result of their performance on the 2017 TNReady standardized tests.
“We are excited and encouraged by the improvements we have made that the exemplary status recognizes. Our leaders, teachers and students have worked hard to meet the rigor of the new standards and assessment,” said Staci Gray, the system’s supervisor of instruction. We have much work ahead of us to make sure we teach so students can learn at the highest level every day,” said Staci Gray, supervisor of instruction for the school system.
Director of Schools Edwin Jarnagin recalled a quote from the late Coach Vince Lombardi about individual effort being essential to making a team work.
“The same is true of a school system,” he said. “The accountability determination for Grainger County Schools as exemplary in three categories is an example of the success of a larger organization resulting from individual effort. I am very proud of the efforts of the teachers, staff, students and parents, and the foresight of the school board to fund necessary improvements to provide a quality education for our students of Grainger County.”
He said Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen called him Sunday to congratulate him on the system’s achievement.
“I was thankful to know that the long hours and hard work of so many would officially be recognized. Specifically, Bean Station Elementary individually earned Reward Progress status, and Rutledge Elementary was honored for their work to exit Focus School status,” he said.
“Being named as an Exemplary District is a great compliment for the work completed every single day in Grainger County Schools, and I am proud to be a part of this system.”
Gray said the system attained its designation for achievement status, subgroup status and final determination, as well as advances in school rankings for the state, in the subject areas of math and science.
The determinations are made by the state education department under accountability standards established by state law, McQueen said in a letter addressed to Jarnagin.
Bean Station Elementary earned Reward Progress status due to the school’s one year TVAAS school composite score which placed them in the top 5 percent of schools in the same pool, Gray said.
Rutledge Elementary exited Focus School status due to reducing their percentile ranks of students scoring at the lowest level of achievement by 25 points or more.
Gray said 24.4 percent of Grainger County students in third through eighth grades are on track or have mastered English and language arts, compared to 33.8 percent statewide.
In math, 27.4 percent are on track or have mastered math. That compares to 33.8 percent statewide.
In science, 54.4 percent are on track or have mastered science, compared to 58.5 percent statewide.