CHURCH HILL — Church Hill Elementary School’s implementation of the state motto “All Means All” has certainly paid off, as the school was named a Tennessee Reward School for 2019.

Reward Schools are identified annually by the Tennessee Department of Education, and this is the top distinction schools can earn.

This distinction is based on the school’s achievement and growth in their TNReady test scores as well as their rate of chronic absenteeism.

This is actually the first time that the school has received this status, though, in 2015, they were one of only two schools in the state to be named as a National Title I Distinguished School.

“Let me just say how proud and honored I am to work with such an amazing staff,” said Principal Hope Malone. “They are so dedicated to our boys and girls, and obviously it shows through out reward school status.”

All Means AllThe Tennessee Dept. of Education website lists “All Means All” as one of the state’s education priorities, defining the motto as promoting “individualized support and opportunities for all students with a focus on those who are furthest behind.”

At Church Hill Elementary, Malone explained, this ideology impacts the way everything is organized.

“We are such a data-driven school,” Malone said. “We not only look at the school as a whole, but we also look at the individual student. We work so collaboratively together to make sure that all of our students are taken care of…They (the teachers) look at each individual child and what we can do to support them.”

She attributed the school’s success to a lot of hard work from both the teachers and the students.

“I think it was the hard work and dedication of not only our teachers, but also our boys and girls,” Malone said. “They understand that there is so much rigor and high expectations, so I think them just digging in deep into their classrooms, and into the curriculum and work had a lot to do with that (the reward school status).”

She went on to explain that the RTI (Response to Intervention) program also contributed to the reward status by ensuring that students receive individualized assistance from the school interventionist when needed.

“We have programs that we’ve put into place there (in the RTI program) to help build and support those students wherever we can,” she said. “That’s very skills-based and directed towards their specific needs. This ties back to ‘All Means All’ so that we look at that individual student.”

Where to go from here?Though the school has reached a high level of success, Malone explained that “we can always have higher expectations.”

“We want to maintain and sustain, but obviously we also want to grow,” Malone said. “We just want to do exactly what we’ve been doing and just grow from there. We were ‘good,’ and we wanted to get to ‘great.’ We’ve gotten to ‘great,’ and now we want to get to ‘even better.’

Principal Malone has come full circleWhen Church Hill Elementary was named a Title I Distinguished School in 2015, Malone was actually working for the Tennessee State Dept. of Education under former Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen.

“I actually brought in the Commissioner when they became a National Title School,” Malone said. “That was my very first visit to Church Hill Elementary. Who would have thought that, four years later, I would have been the principal? I am just so honored and so proud to work with them every single day. They do such an amazing job.”