State officials proudly announced Monday the designation of six Hamilton County schools as being Reward schools under the state's new accountability system.
Gov. Bill Haslam made the announcement from a school in Brentwood, which was live-streamed across the state. Chattanooga High School Center for the Creative Arts, East Side Elementary, Harrison Elementary, Lookout Mountain Elementary and Thrasher Elementary were all named as being in the state's top 5 percent for either annual growth or academic achievement.
Thrasher Elementary was the only school in Hamilton County to achieve the top 5 percent of both overall performance and progress under the new measure. Lookout Mountain Elementary and Big Ridge Elementary were the only other schools to make the top 5 percent of performing schools, and the remainder of the Hamilton County Reward schools all qualified for the top 5 percent under the progress category.
Across Tennessee, a total of 169 schools were designated as Reward schools. Of that number, nearly a quarter achieved both performance and progress categories.
Because of their accomplishment, reward schools are eligible for $2 million in Race to the Top funds allocated by the state for education grants.
In a news release, Haslam praised all of the state's 169 schools to have been in the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth and overall achievement.
"Tennessee is leading the way in education reform, and these schools demonstrate two key focuses of education in our state: high levels of achievement and continuous growth," Haslam said. "Job creation and education are inextricably linked, and continuing our momentum in education reform is important as we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. We are proud of the teachers and staff at each of these schools and excited to recognize their efforts on behalf of Tennessee residents."
The state also released its list of priority and focus schools earlier this month, the other two tiers of its new accountability system under its waiver from federal standards put in place by No Child Left Behind.
Updated @ 2:11 p.m. on 10/22/12 to correct a factual error: An earlier version of this story stated Big Ridge had been named a Reward school in the progress category. In fact, it had been named a Reward school in the performance category.