Caryville Elementary praised by state

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By Beth Braden

Caryville Elementary was just shy of being considered a rewards school, but their efforts to close the achievement gap didn’t go unnoticed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

A rewards school is a school that falls in the top five percent in performance and in the top five percent in progress.

CES principal Lori Adkins received a letter from the state education commissioner, Kevin Huffman, informing her of the school’s progress.

“We weren’t a rewards school, but we were very, very close,” Adkins said.

According to Tennessee’s education report card, students in Caryville made some of the greatest improvements in Campbell County, gaining ground on math, social studies and science TCAP stores while holding steady on reading and language arts. Writing scores became equal to the state score of 4.2, up from 4.

In the academic growth/value added category, Caryville saw gains in all subjects. Value added is a measure of how in-school measures contribute to student success. In 2011, value added ratings were as follows:

Math – C

Reading and Language Arts – C

Social Studies – C

Science – F

After a year of hard work, those ratings jumped by at least two letter grades:

Math – B

Reading and Language Arts – A

Social Studies – A

Science – B

Caryville was actually in the range of progress for schools considered rewards schools, but were ultimately disqualified because of achievement gaps in subgroups. In this case, the gaps between the economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged students and disabled and non-disabled students were still below the state median despite positive gains.

“We didn’t close our achievement gap enough. They’re not looking at overall achievement now, they’re looking at subgroups,” Adkins said.

The letter thanks the staff members for their hard work and encourages them to continue their programs to help close the gaps.

“Your school is on the cup of achieving this recognition and we wanted to let you know how close you are, and encourage you in your work this year,” the letter said.