Rhea County Director of Schools Jerry Levengood

Rhea County School System designated an ‘advancing’ school system

Frazier Elementary School was recently named a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education, and the Rhea County School System as a whole was deemed to have adequately prepared students for the next grade, according to a state evaluation of the previous school year.

“Being named a Reward School is the highest achievement you can have as a school,” Rhea County Director of Schools Jerry Levengood said.

According to county school officials, Graysville Elementary School was nearly named a Reward School but fell just shy of the mark. Levengood said that using the state’s scoring method, Graysville Elementary School received a 3.0, and a score of 3.1 is needed to be named a Reward School.

“Graysville was right on the cusp,” Levengood said.

The overall county school system saw impressive scores, school officials said, particularly in the area of mathematics.

“Our math scores were very, very good,” Levengood said. “Among our sixth- to eighth-graders, those scores were phenomenal. Math is something we’ve really improved on and something we’re really proud of.”

Compared to school systems around the state, Rhea County school officials said that students in third- through eighth-grade performed above the state average in English and language arts. The state assessment also determined that Rhea County students performed above the state average in the subject of algebra I.

Overall, Rhea County High School received a score of three out of five, and Levnegood said that designation means that students have been adequately prepared for advancement to the next grade.

“In a sense, we’re satisfied, but not satisfied,” Levengood said. “Our growth was not as high as our achievement. That’s where we were lagging behind this year was on our growth.”

Still, the Rhea County School System was named an “advancing” school district, the second highest designation the state gives a school district. Those designations are “marginal,” “satisfactory,” “advancing” and “exemplary.”

“We still have some room for growth,” Levengood said. “Some areas we are very proud of, and in some areas we have plans to get better.”