Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 26, 2013

Crab Orchard takes second in Middle Tennessee for value added gains


Staff writer

CROSSVILLE — Students in Cumberland County are preparing for their annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests to begin today, but one Cumberland County school learned this week student performance last year on the TCAP tests earned the school some high praise and acknowledgement. 

Crab Orchard Elementary was recognized as one of the state's top performers on TVAAS, Tennessee's Value-Addess Assessment System, ranking 10th in the state and second place among middle schools in Middle Tennessee by the Education Consumers Foundation (ECF).

Virginia Richards, with ECF, presented Principal Rebecca Farley and the faculty, staff and student body, with a plaque, banner and $2,000 award.

"I'm here because of how hard you have worked and how hard your teachers have worked and how hard your principal has worked," Richards said.

Brown Elementary was recognized earlier this year as the top school in the state for value-added scores.

Richards explained the ECF ranks Tennessee elementary and middle schools according to their value-added performance. Rankings are made using schools' letter grades for reading/language arts, math, science and social studies. Reading/language arts and math are double-weighted to reflect the importance of these areas. A grade point average is calculated. In all, 18 winners were selected from Tennessee's nearly 1,300 public elementary and middle schools. Because Crab Orchard is a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, it was judged in the middle school category.

The awards also recognize high quality leadership, and only schools where the principal has served for at least five years were considered.

"School leaders like Rebecca Farley are the kinds of principals we want to see in every Tennessee school: dedicated leaders willing to do whatever it takes to create the conditions for student success," said ECF President J.E. Stone. "Schools like Crab Orchard Elementary show what a dedicated principal and teaching force can achieve in Tennessee schools. If every school performed at the level of our 18 winners, Tennessee would lead the nation in educational improvement."

Farley said during the presentation, "I want to thank every teacher, assistant and staff member. I appreciate each and every one of you. And we want everyone to come back next year, not because we are second, but because we are first."

Value-added scores measure how much knowledge a student gains during a school year.

The Education Consumers Foundation is dedicated to serving the interests of education's consumers and uses research to evaluate education policy and practice. The organization uses data from the state testing program to identify and reward effective school leaders, help consumers determine how effective their local schools are, uncover information on the relationship between poverty and effectiveness and identify practices common to effective schools.
Other Cumberland County schools achieving an "exceptional" ranking in the 2012 report are South Cumberland Elementary, Martin Elementary and North Cumberland Elementary.