BLOUNTVILLE — As reported in Tennessee TNReady results, Sullivan County students showed substantial gains in the 2018-19 school year in both achievement and growth, and the district Tuesday evening announced the designation of seven Reward Schools.

The state Department of Education (TDOE) website giving the results will not go live until Thursday, Aug. 15, but the school system had permission to release information about its results as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.


According to the TDOE website, “​The student academic ​growth indicator ​measures individual student growth using the value-added model known as the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). All schools and districts receive an overall student growth level equal to their TVAAS composite level, which ranges from Level 1 to Level 5 with Level 5 being the highest performing and Level 1 being the lowest performing.”

The Tennessee Department of Education recently released data to districts. The Sullivan County Schools growth indicator for all students is ​Level 4 overall​, indicating the strongest gains in the district to date and a state designation of ​“Advancing​.” In addition, every school in the district earned a Level 3, 4, or 5 in literacy.


Also according to the Tennessee Department of Education website, “The academic achievement indicator ​ measures the percentage of students performing on grade level on state assessments as well as the improvement in this percentage from one year to the next. A student is considered on grade level if he or she scores on track or mastered on state exams, known as TNReady or TCAP” (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program).

Academic achievement data depicts progress in every content area to include Algebra II, English I, English II, geometry, social studies, U.S. history, third through eighth grade English language arts and third through eighth grade math. The only subject that declined in the percentage of students scoring on track or mastered was Algebra I.


Tennessee defines Reward School Status as the “top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward schools are those that are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and for student groups, and they are identified annually.” Seven schools have been named by the state as reward schools: Central Heights Elementary, Holston Elementary, Holston Middle, Ketron Elementary, Miller Perry Elementary, Rock Springs Elementary and Sullivan South High School.


The district is celebrating many other accomplishments:

● The graduation rate increased to an all-time high of 95.4 percent.

● The percentage of Ready Graduates increased from 34.6 to 43.3.

● English learner proficiency increased from 41.9 to 70 percent.

● The percentage of students designated as “chronically out of school” decreased from 16 to 14 percent.

● The ACT district composite increased from 20.3 to 20.6 percent with a 99.58 percent participation rate.

“I am very proud of the hard work and dedication to our students by our teachers, principals, and instructional staff and the commitment they have made to continuous improvement,” said Director of Schools David Cox.

Evelyn Rafalowski, Cox’s predecessor, said: “Change is not easy and often the impact of improvement efforts is not immediate. These results are a reflection of many years of hard work by our teachers, students, and leaders, and it is extremely rewarding to have the confirmation that our district is progressing and achieving and we are doing the right thing for kids.”