Murfreesboro City Schools was named an Exemplary District by the state and had nine schools named Reward Schools, its largest number ever, last week.

Exemplary District and Reward Schools are the highest education designation a district and school can receive from the state.

The nine schools are: Black Fox, Cason Lane, Discovery, Erma Siegel, John Pittard, Mitchell-Neilson, Overall Creek, Reeves-Rogers and Scales Elementary.

TNReady data released last week indicate that those MCS schools are significantly improving student academic achievement for all students, the city school district said. Attendance and English language proficiency are also required measures in the designation.

The Rutherford County Schools Reward Schools are: Barfield Elementary School, Cedar Grove Elementary School, Central Magnet School, Homer Pittard Campus School, John Colemon Elementary School, Kittrell Elementary School, La Vergne Middle School, Rock Springs Elementary School, Rockvale Middle School, Rocky Fork Middle School, Stewartsboro Elementary School, Stewarts Creek Elementary School, Stewarts Creek Middle School and Thurman Francis Arts Academy.

Rutherford County Schools superintendent Bill Spurlock said in a statement, “We scored a Level 5 composite and in other areas, had continuous value-added gains across all grade bands and had 14 schools named as Reward Schools for scoring in the top five percent of the state.”

In addition to Rutherford County Schools receiving a growth score of 5 for its composite ranking, it also received the score for literacy, numeracy, and in the combined literacy/numeracy category.

RCS said it had nearly a third of its schools recognized for scoring within the top five percent of all schools in Tennessee. Schools that perform in the top five percent for either performance or growth are designated as Reward Schools,” and this year, Rutherford County Schools had 14 schools earn the designation out of 44 schools that were measured for accountability.

The Department of Education said in a press release that that more than half the schools in Tennessee — 56 percent — improved their growth scores (TVAAS scores, or TNReady) from the previous year, with 41 percent of all schools earning a level 4 or 5 TVAAS rating which measures year-to-year growth.

During the Murfreesboro City Schools Board meeting last week, Superintendent Dr. Linda Gilbert had a principal hold up a banner with a large No. 5 to announce the district’s scores for ELA/reading as well as math, which drew applause from the audience.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement, “I’m impressed with the improvement we’ve seen in mathematics. The dedication of our educators, commitment to implementing high-quality materials, and unwavering student focus is what sets Tennessee apart and will continue to be the catalyst for moving our state forward.”

The state reported these results:

  • Mathematics: 5th grade students claimed the largest grade-level improvement over 2018 (5.6 percent increase over 2018).
  • High school geometry students achieved the largest increase of all TNReady math scores (5.9 percent increase over 2018).
  • Algebra I scores showed a 3 percent increase, which is significant since Algebra I success serves as an early predictor for college readiness.
  • English Language Arts (ELA): 9th grade students across the state improved scores by 7.4 percent, while 10th grade students did slightly better with a 7.5 percent improvement over 2018.

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