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Rural Tenn. High-Achieving District, School Share Best Practices

Rural Hamblen County Schools in Tennessee is the focus of a new 36-page report intended to help educators nationwide boost student achievement.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education recognized one elementary, middle and high school and one district this past fall that had dramatically improved student achievement. One goal of the prize was to share those winners' best practices with the rest of the country, and this new guidebook explains the work each did to help their students make improvements.

SCORE is a nonprofit education-advocacy group founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Its report talks about what Hamblen County did to embrace high standards, cultivate strong leaders, ensure excellent teachers, and use data to enhance student learning. It also has questions for districts to reflect on their practices and QR codes that link to videos.

The district's efforts are worth noting. Although its poverty rate jumped from 40 percent to 60 percent in the past decade, 39 percent of its students are enrolled in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, and its pass rate on AP exams is 61 percent.

Similar reports were produced for the school winners, which included Covington High in rural Tipton County. Its college-going rate jumped 10 percentage points between 2009 and 2010.

The 2013 SCORE prize will be awarded in October.

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