What are Tennessee Target Schools?

Rick Wagner • Sep 26, 2018 at 12:24 PM

BLUFF CITY — On the other end of the spectrum from Reward Schools in Tennessee, announced last week, are Priority Schools identified at least every three years, and they are the schools most in need of support and improvement.

Northeast Tennessee had none of those, but it did have some in an intermediate category commonly called Target Schools in the 2018 results released Friday.

Target Schools locally and in the region were Sullivan County’s Bluff City Middle, Bristol’s Fairmount Elementary, Washington County’s West View School, Carter County’s Happy Valley Middle School, Carter County’s Love Chapel Elementary, Johnson County Middle School, Johnson County’s Roan Creek Elementary and Greeneville’s Highland Elementary.

Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said Bluff City Middle has never received a 1 or 2 ranking on a scale of 1 to 5, and she is sure the school will improve this school year, which is planned to be its last. Bluff City, the middle school portion of Mary Hughes and Holston Valley Middle are to be merged into East Middle School in the fall of 2019.

“I think we’ll be able to address that (Target School status) and move forward,” Rafalowski said.

Here’s some background:


Following legislation passed this spring, 2017-18 TNReady data was not used to identify Priority Schools. The 2018 Priority list includes 82 schools across eight districts, and these schools are now eligible for additional funding and will be supported by the department, in coordination with their districts, in developing a plan to improve. However, none of those were in the Tri-Cities.


However, Tennessee is required by federal law to include 2017-18 data in determining Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) schools, commonly called Target Schools, which is a new federal designation for schools that need particular focus on their student group performance. 2018 ATSI schools are the schools with the lowest performance across student groups using 2017-18 data. These schools will be supported by the department and are eligible for additional funding.

Like Priority Schools, they are eligible for additional funding to help have improved performance.

Another new federally required category is Comprehensive Support and Improvement or (CSI) Schools, but no Northeast Tennessee schools got that category. Rafalowski said the federal government required the CSI and ATSI designations for the target and support and improvement schools even though neither had TNReady data counted against them.

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