Lincoln Heights Middle School celebrated Tuesday morning receiving the distinction as the only Hamblen County school to be designated by the state as a reward school for growth.
“We’ve changed the tests, but we haven’t changed the expectations of the students,” said Joseph Ely, principal of Lincoln Heights Middle School.
The distinction comes after TNReady scores came out last week for third through eighth graders.
The reward schools program recognizes schools for performance, progress or both. Lincoln Heights won its reward school status in the progress category.
Other schools that gained reward school status in the Lakeway Area include Bean Sation and Dandridge elementary schools, state records show.
Buddy Smith, assistant director of Hamblen County schools, said it’s a good achievement.
“They are a top 5 percent school in the state,” he said.
Ely said the credit belonged to the staff.
“It was a great effort by our great group of teachers,” he said. “They knew it was a goal.”
Lincoln Heights was the last Hamblen County school to achieve reward school status three years ago. Ely said the goal is to now reach rewards status in both progress and performance. But, he said as long as the school keeps progressing then eventually it will also hit the performance category.
“It will come on its own,” he said.
Then after that, they have other goals and this one is a national one.
“We want to be the first middle school to be a blue ribbon school,” he said.