With this distinction the school will receive $1,000 and be recognized at a Tennessee Board of Education meeting, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Education.
“As their school board member I couldn’t be more proud,” Bradley County Board of Education member Troy Weathers said. “It’s a great day, No. 1 for the students. ... It’s the students who win from this.”
Weathers said it was good to see the hard work of the teachers and the staff recognized.
“We actually went through the interview process about a month ago. We had been on pins and needles (waiting for the announcement),” Michigan Avenue Principal Robert Brittingham said.
The school received a call from the state education department a little more than 24 hours before a representative was set to come to the school to interview him about what the school was doing to help students.
The school was chosen for the state award for “significantly closing the achievement gap between student groups,” according to a new release.
Brittingham said there is no one thing that has made the difference, but a lot of little things making a great impact over time.
“Michigan Avenue has a long-standing history of excellence,” Brittingham said. Giving teachers more planning time and hiring additional support staff that can work with struggling students on a daily basis have been two of the major things, he said.
Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said Michigan Avenue was “very worthy of the recognition.” He said the school has worked are over the years to reach this level of excellence.
The distinction “speaks to the work of Ms. Sheena Newman (former principal) and Mr. Brittingham,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said the recognition is a testament to the great teachers at Michigan Avenue.
Only four schools in the state were named 2012 Title I Distinguished Schools.
“All kids can learn and be successful, and these outstanding schools prove just that,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said in a press release. “I want to congratulate these four schools, and thank them for setting a high bar for achievement.”
Other 2012 Title I Distinguished Schools include Fairmont Elementary School (Johnson City Schools); and John P. Freeman Optional School (Memphis City Schools) for “Exceptional Student Achievement.” David Crockett Elementary in Lawrence County was also named national winner for “Significantly Closing the Achievement Gap.”
Schools named as national winners from the state will receive $5,000 and send representatives to the 2012 National Title I conference in January in Seattle.