Reward Schools score in the top five percent for annual growth and/or academic achievement. TMS was one of about 40 schools to receive both designations, according to a new accountability system adopted through Tennessee's No Child Left Behind waiver.
"We are very proud of the entire staff of TMS," said Dr. Ray Butrum, school superintendent. "It is not easy to maintain high achievement and provide growth for such a specific subgroup of our Bedford County School population."
The magnet school opened in 2009, within a facility that has served several configurations of K-6 classes since 1963. TMS serves high-achieving students throughout the county, with focus areas being technology, leadership and after-school enrichment.
The model of best practices established by the school is gradually being modified and duplicated for each school in the county, beginning with a mini-magnet pilot program at Harris Middle School for incoming sixth graders.
Tim Harwell, former TMS principal, said, "I'm thrilled about the news." He credits "great family support, amazing students and a creative and dedicated faculty and staff" for making the award possible.
Harwell was named principal at Cascade High School over the summer. Dulcie Davis is TMS's incoming principal.
The Reward School designation comes after a summer of cuts to the school district's funding which ensure Bedford County teachers will remain among the lowest-paid in the mid-state for at least another budget year.
"We continue to have teachers, students, and entire schools honored for what they are doing for the children of Bedford County," Butrum said.
"This is how we will draw industry to our communities. This is how we will prove and improve our value as an educational leader in Tennessee."
"Job creation and education are inextricably linked, and continuing our momentum in education reform is important as we work to make Tennessee the Number One location in the Southeast for high quality jobs," he said at the event announcing the designees.
Tennessee has set out to become the fastest-improving educational system in the country by raising student performance each year. For the first time, the state has recognized schools that have shown the most progress year-over-year alongside the schools with the highest achievement scores on statewide tests.
Reward Schools are spread across 70 districts, located in major cities as well as rural areas, and 102 of the recognized schools serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations. A list of the schools may be found on the department's website, at www.tn.gov/education/accountability.