Earlier this week the state released TNReady state testing results from last spring, as well as the lists of Reward, Exemplary, Targeted, and other statuses that arose from those testing results.
Ending the way she started
For director Rebecca Isaacs, who retires at the end of this school year, earning Reward School and Exemplary District status this year is even sweeter because she began her career at RCS in 2011 with RCS earning the double honor of Reward/Exemplary status.
She told the Times-News her career at RCS has now come full circle.
RCS is also in elite company.
Of the 17 school systems in the First Tennessee Development District (Upper Northeast Tennessee), RCS is the only one to earn Exemplary status.
RCS was also a Reward School last year, so this is the school’s third time since 2011 to earn that distinction.
“We've got hard working students”
Isaacs noted that RCS's long record of high academic achievement makes it more difficult to earn these honors because so much weight is given to progress and improvement.
“Our achievement is based on what RCS did last year, and not based on what any other school did,” Isaacs noted. “For us typically having high achievement and good growth, that's always a challenge. But, we just have such a dynamic, hard working, dedicated staff. We've got hard working students. We've got strong community support. So, we have all the elements to be a successful district and school every year.”
“Constantly looking at ways of improving”
A big part of that success is due to a strong emphasis on English Language Arts (ELA) and math, and the TDE website specifically recognizes RCS for its significant growth in 3rd grade ELA.
“We actually have in place a math interventionist and coach, and an ELA interventionist and coach, and they actually do professional development with staff, and they work with small groups of students as well,” Isaacs said. “We're constantly looking at ways of improving instruction, and we constantly evaluating our students. We have formative assessments that we use in addition to the summative assessments that come through the state. So we're constantly reviewing that data, working though our response to intervention model, targeting the skill deficits of students and remediating those problems.”
“Constantly reviewing, analyzing and sharing data”
“The 2018-19 data that just came out, we'll be looking at that,” Isaacs added. “As that comes out, (director of Data, Attendance and Testing) Shane Bailey has individual data meetings with teachers as those scores come out. We actually had teachers coming in this summer wanting to see their data, and they start looking at that, looking at the students coming in to them, what are their strengths, what are the challenges that need to be met. That is an important piece of what we do here. Constantly reviewing, analyzing and sharing data, and then using the results of that to meet the needs of our students.”