On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that the Trousdale County School District has been awarded the designation of exemplary school district. Simultaneously, all three district schools — Trousdale County Elementary, Jim B. Satterfield Middle and Trousdale County High — received reward school recognition.
“The announcement highlights the intentional hard work by our educational family since the pandemic closure,” Trousdale County Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said. “I believe it is a testament that we are on the right track to accelerating learning for all of our students. Statistically, we are almost at, or possibly above, where we were prior to the (start of the COVID-19) pandemic when we were an exemplary district, with all three schools as reward schools in 2019.”
After schools across the state were suddenly closed in March of 2020, followed by a year of hybrid learning in 2020-21, then unprecedented staff and student quarantines from the pandemic in 2021-22, the award came as welcomed news.
“During the hybrid period, we put a premium on prioritizing foundational reading skills,” Trousdale County Elementary School Principal Demetrice Badru said. “(This) shifted our focus from remediation to accelerating learning in the midst of the pandemic.”
Although all three Trousdale County schools are level 5 in displaying added academic growth (the highest designation), as the district exceeded state proficiency averages in key reporting areas on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), those programs that showed lower growth are now being redesigned to support more student ownership and engagement.
However, COVID-19 has not only negatively impacted academics throughout Tennessee schools, it has also profoundly affected school attendance.
“Schools are doing a better job now of calling parents when students are absent,” said Trousdale County Truancy Officer Jennifer Cothron. “(The school district is) getting families into attendance hearings and even into truancy court when necessary.”
While trying to ease any lingering negative effects of the pandemic, the district will take a moment to celebrate its achievements.
“Mitigating the negative effects of COVID and accelerating learning has been tough on everybody, including our teachers, support personnel, students, families, and administrators, including our board of education, but all have stepped up and courageously met the challenge,” said Satterfield. “For a short time, we intend on celebrating our efforts.”
The school board provided a celebration cake to all the teachers on Monday. It will also be providing resources for each school to design its own student celebrations in the upcoming weeks.