Top TN Public Schools Span Economic Spectrum

Gov. Bill Haslam announced the Reward Schools at a relatively affluent school - Percy Priest Elementary in Nashville. Davidson County has a dozen schools on the reward list. Rutherford County had ten. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr

Gov. Bill Haslam announced the Reward Schools at a relatively affluent school – Percy Priest Elementary in Nashville. Davidson County has a dozen schools on the reward list. Rutherford County had ten. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr

The Tennessee Department of Education has named the highest performing schools in the state. And this year, among the top 5 percent are more than 70 schools that serve mostly low-income families. 

The 169 schools that achieved “Reward Schools” designation came two ways – by making enough progress or by shear performance. Sixteen schools met both criteria, and half of those are in Williamson County.

In Nashville, five of the 12 “Reward Schools” are considered Title I, serving mostly low-income families. All but one are charter schools, which use public money while operating more like a private institution.

Bedford, Coffee, Rutherford and Williamson counties also had Title I schools make this year’s list. There are fewer low-income schools compared to last year. Since most get in based on progress, it becomes increasingly difficult to make the same size gains the following year.

Governor Bill Haslam says the results show “all students can learn and grow even though their starting lines are different.”

Naming “Reward Schools” started in 2012 as a way to praise teachers and students instead of always focusing on shortfalls.

11:45 am: This post has been updated for clarity.

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