TDOE Announces School and District Designations for 2021-22 School Year

Monday, September 12, 2022 | 03:00pm


Designations Earned for Performance and Improvement

NASHVILLE, TN — Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the school and district designations for the 2021-22 school year, which includes the highest performing schools and districts for academic achievement and student growth. Across the state, 427 schools spanning 92 districts received designation as a Reward school, and 16 districts received designation as an Exemplary district.  

Each year, schools are eligible for four types of designations based on their overall performance across indicators that are essential to student success, including how the school prepared students to be proficient (Achievement), accelerated student learning (Growth), encouraged students to attend school regularly (Chronically out of School), prepared students for postsecondary success (Graduation Rate and Ready Graduate), and supported English learners acquiring language skills. 

Schools are recognized as a Reward school when they demonstrate high levels of performance and/or improvement in performance by meeting their annual measurable objectives across performance indicators and student groups, and the Reward school distinction places significant emphasis on improvement from the prior school year. From the 2020-21 TCAP administration, a significant number of schools saw improvement and increased participation in this year’s assessments to qualify for the distinction.

“Tennessee students, families, educators, and school communities have worked hard to overcome a variety of challenges stemming from the pandemic and I congratulate them on their efforts," said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our teachers and school and district leaders focus on helping students improve every day and we will continue to focus on student achievement, as well as growth, so that all students are set on a path to success.”  

The complete list of district and school designations, including Reward schools and schools exiting Priority or Focus status, is posted on the department's Accountability webpage.

In addition to recognizing Reward schools, the department also named Priority schools and Focus schools. Priority schools, also federally designated as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools, were the bottom five percent of the schools across state due to multiple years of low academic performance. Focus schools, which are federally designated as either Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI), are also identified based on school performance among student groups. Additional support and fundings will be provided to the identified Priority and Focus schools next school year for school improvement purposes.   

School districts also receive designations based on their performance and/or demonstration of improvement on the same set of school performance measures. These preliminary designations are available on the department’s accountability page and will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval at the October 28th quarterly meeting.

The districts designated as Exemplary include the following:

  • Athens City Schools 
  • Bells City Schools 
  • Collierville Schools 
  • Dayton City Schools 
  • Etowah City Schools  
  • Greene County Schools 
  • Greeneville City Schools  
  • Lakeland Schools  
  • Lewis County Schools 
  • Lexington City Schools 
  • Meigs County Schools 
  • Newport City Schools 
  • Tennessee Schools for the Deaf 
  • Trousdale County Schools 
  • Van Buren County Schools 
  • Williamson County Schools  

“Greene County Schools is very proud to be named by the Tennessee Department of Education as an Exemplary School District for the 21-22 school year. This is a true testament to how hard our school system worked this past year,” said David McLain, Director of Schools, Greene County Schools. “I appreciate our teachers, administration, staff, and school board for their total commitment to improving student success. Thanks for the recognition and thanks to all who worked so hard for us to achieve exemplary status.” 

“Being an Exemplary District highlights the intentional hard work by a lot of people since the pandemic closure in 2020,” said Dr. Clint Satterfield, Director of Schools, Trousdale County Schools. “I believe it is a testament that we are on the right track to accelerating learning for all of our students.”

“This reflects the dedication and hard work of everyone that is a part of Athens City Schools! For Athens City Schools staff, excellence is a habit not just an act,” said Robert Greene, Director of Schools, Athens City Schools. “During the most difficult of times our teachers and staff have demonstrated their commitment to excellence again. I want to thank all our staff for their wonderful performance and the Athens City school board for its support of the teachers and the systems leadership.”

“I am excited to be a part of Lewis County Schools and am glad to share in the announcement that Lewis is an Exemplary District. I am proud of everyone who had a part in this accomplishment,” said Tracy McAbee, Director of Schools, Lewis County Schools.

“On behalf of Collierville Schools, we are proud of our entire community for earning the distinction of being an Exemplary District. After the learning disruptions over the past couple of years, we have really focused on strengthening foundational skills and moving children forward,” said Dr. Gary Lilly, Director of Schools, Collierville Schools. “The Exemplary District designation speaks volumes about the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff, students, and families. We look forward to the amazing things our students will continue to accomplish this year and into the future.”

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact