KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Department of Education announced the School and District Designations for the 2021-2022 school year.

The list shows districts that are excelling and those that need additional support. Districts are rated based on their performance across six performance indicators including Grade Band Success Rates, rates at which students are Chronically Out of School, performance on the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), and Graduation rates. Each district is given one of five designations; exemplary, advancing, satisfactory, marginal, and in need of improvement.

Some districts in our area were classified as “in need of improvement.” Those schools include Knox, Anderson, Claiborne, and Sevier County Schools. Jefferson County and Oak Ridge Schools both made the advancing designation list.

According to the state release, all individual district designations are pending State Board Of Education approval.

The Director of Schools Jefferson County, Tommy Arnold said, “it’s only a snapshot of tests but our district is really excelling and moving in the right direction and that right direction is a clear response to the effort and dedication of our teachers and students.”

This is the second year in a row that Jefferson County Schools received the advancing ranking. Within their district, Jefferson Elementary School, Piedmont Elementary School and Talbot Elementary School received reward school status. White Pine Elementary was targeted as an improvement school.

Arnold said for that school, “we are searching for qualified ESL teachers.” 

Oak Ridge Schools Executive Director for Teaching and Learning, Kelly Williams, said regarding their advancing ranking, “the success of Oak Ridge Schools absolutely stems from the outstanding group of educators that I work with.”

Four of their schools were named reward schools including Linden, Glenwood, Willowbrook Elementries and Jefferson Middle School. Williams added that none of their schools were on the needs improvement list. 

Satisfactory school districts in our area include Hamblen County.

“Satisfactory is not good enough and we are not okay with the satisfactory rating,” said Superintendent Arnold Bunch. “What we’re going to look for is the lessons learned, and the best practices that schools had that we will take and apply and collaborate across the district to make sure we raise the performance of all the schools.”

Two schools that did well in their district were Hillcrest Elementary School under Doctor Paula Davis and Lincoln Heights Elementary School under Ms. Shelly Greene. Three of their schools were labeled as focused schools.

Both Sevier and Knox County made the list of schools that are in need of improvement.

In a board meeting Monday, Knox County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jon Rysewyk said, “to be in the bottom five percent of overall accountability is not where we want to be.”

Sevier County Schools sent us a three-page press release regarding the designations. In it, they state Tennessee’s value-added assessment system “measures student academic growth from year to year rather than serving as an indicator of student proficiency on the state assessment.”

All of these schools say there is always room for improvement.

“Our ultimate goal is to become an exemplary status school system in the future,” said Arnold.

Kelly Williams adds, “we want all students to achieve college and career readiness. And that does mean more than what we can measure on one test.”

You can find out more about these school district scores and see how each of their schools did here.