A handful of Knox County Schools are getting statewide recognition for student achievement, improvement, or both.
TCAP scores released Tuesday put five Knox County schools in the 'reward school' program. That means they are in the top 5-percent of schools for performance, progress, and in one case, both.
L&N STEM Academy and Sequoyah Elementary School were recognized for how well students are doing in the classroom while Carter High School and Powell Elementary School made big waves in student growth. Farragut High School received a double designation as both a high performing and high growth school.
"It's a validation of hard work but you still can't be satisfied," said Farragut High Principal Mike Reynolds. Reynolds credits hard-working teachers and students for the school's achievement.
The honor didn't come as a surprise for some students.
"The teachers don't accept anything but your best effort," said Student Government Association President Ethan Young. "It's really empowering as a student to have a school that's going to prepare you in that way."
This is the first time the state named Farragut High School both a high performing and high progress school. The state created the reward school program two years ago when Tennessee opted out of No Child Left Behind. The reward school program serves as part of a new accountability system.
The department calculates progress using a 20-year old formula called the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System. Officials analyze students' past testing history and calculate a trajectory for what students should learn during the school year.
Carter High School, Powell Elementary, and Farragut High School all received high composite scores, putting them in the top 5% for growth in the state.
Of course that's not the only honor for Farragut High.
Reynolds said 95% of last year's graduating class received scholarship offers, something he says is a key indicator of how well students are performing. While he praised the results, he hopes students continue their hard work.
"Growth tells you that a difference was made in that child," said Reynolds. "So I think that's the most important indicator."