The Education Consumers Foundation has recognized Thurman Francis Andra Helton as the first place winner in the K-8/Middle School division in Middle Tennessee for its annual Value-Added Achievement Awards.
Winners are selected based on the most important school measurement available: Learning gains across the entire student body, as measured by Tennessee’s Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). TVAAS measures achievement gain in a way that permits schools to be compared regardless of the makeup of the student body. Schools whose students make the greatest annual gains in achievement earn the highest value-added scores.
In all, 18 winners were selected from among Tennessee’s nearly 1,300 public elementary and middle schools. First, second and third place awards are given in two categories, Elementary and Middle schools, in each of Tennessee’s three regions: East, Middle, and West.
“These 18 principals show what a dedicated principal and teaching force can achieve in Tennessee schools,” noted ECF President Dr. J. E. Stone. “If every school performed at the level of our 18 winners, Tennessee would lead the nation in educational improvement.”
According to Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, “I am pleased to join with the Education Consumers Foundation in recognizing some of our most effective principals and schools,” Huffman said. “Value-added achievement is a central focus as we work to boost student achievement across the state, and these education leaders are shining examples of what’s possible in Tennessee.”
In previous years, winners were selected on the basis of their three-year average TVAAS scores in reading/language arts and math; this year, the Foundation changed its ranking model to reflect a more comprehensive approach to student achievement. Rankings are now made using schools’ letter grades for reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies; reading/language arts and math scores are double-weighted to reflect the importance of these areas. A “grade point average” is calculated, with a complementary measure – the new three-year average Literacy/Numeracy Growth Index – used as a secondary factor.
Because the awards recognize high quality leadership, only schools where the principal has served for at least five years were considered.
The winning principals each receive a certificate, a banner and a cash award: $3,000 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place.
The Education Consumers Foundation is a nonprofit consumer organization. It gathers and disseminates information about education policy and practice on behalf of parents, taxpayers and their elected representatives.