Norman Smith Elementary wins $10,000 prize

Students at Norman Smith Elementary School /Clarksvillenow

Story by Teresa Wasson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) announced the four winners of the 3rd annual SCORE Prize. The winners – three schools and one school district in Tennessee – were recognized for dramatically improving student achievement.

Norman Smith Elementary School in Clarksville was among the four winners of the prize. The school was awarded $10,000.

The prize event, attended by more than 1,000 educators, parents, students, and other stakeholders, was held at Laura Turner Concert Hall at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. Dr. Bill Frist, founder of SCORE and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, was host for the event, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson delivered remarks. The district award was presented by Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman. The evening concluded with a performance by award-winning country artist Jo Dee Messina, a mother who supports Tennessee public schools and college- and career-readiness.

“Our Prize winners and finalists have shown that it is possible to prepare all of our students to be successful in college and the workforce,” Frist said. “The stories we heard from teachers, principals, district leaders, students, and other stakeholders are powerful. And they are proof points for what works.”

“We are fortunate to live in a state that is committed to doing whatever it takes to prepare our students for the future, and Tennessee is truly leading the nation in this work,” Woodson said. “We have seen leaders instill the belief that all children can and should achieve at high levels. We have seen teachers push students to think deeply, and we have seen students take ownership over their learning and hold all us accountable for preparing them for success. We have seen communities serve as active and engaged partners by providing the resources that connect what’s happening in classrooms to the world of work.”

Winners were selected from among the nine schools and three districts named as finalists in September based on data of their performance on state assessment measures. A selection team visited each of the finalists to see first-hand what these schools and districts are doing to produce outstanding growth in student achievement.

Norman Smith Elementary in Clarksville serves about 570 students. Although more than 77 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, the school has narrowed the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program achievement gap between lower-income and higher-income students by 22 points in math and by 16 points in reading between 2011 and 2013. The school’s TCAP proficiency rates exceed the state averages by 8 points in reading, nearly 12 points in math, and more than 14 points in science.