ROGERSVILLE – Rogersville’s Cherokee High School recently earned its second consecutive school-wide composite growth score of ‘five’ with the release of the 2018-2019 TNReady and TVAAS (Tennessee Value Added Assessment System) scores.

TVAAS measures student growth from one year to the next.

“In calculating a TVAAS score, a student’s performance is compared relative to the performance of his or her peers who have performed similarly on past assessments,” reads the Tennessee Dept. of Education website.

Each program and school as a whole receives a score on a scale from one to five, with five being the best possible score.

“It’s quite an honor to be level five,” said Middle and High School Supervisor Thomas Floyd. He also formerly served as the CHS Principal. “The third year before this, we were a level three school. This just speaks to the commitment of the faculty and staff here, and it speaks highly of the students who are sitting in the seats. Level five was actually on the growth end. The state targets where our kids should meet to certain criteria. That goal was met and exceeded. Our kids really knocked out the top of the growth measure on the EOC (end of course) examinations.”

During the 2019 Media Tour of Schools, faculty at CHS highlighted several of their programs that contributed to their distinction.

Dream Building Day for students with disabilitiesDuring the Media Tour of Schools, a program called Youth Readiness and Dream Building Day was taking place for students with disabilities.

“They’re going to have the opportunity to learn some social skills, some self-advocacy skills for after high school,” CHS assistant principal Amber Sands said.

“This is the first time we’ve gotten to do this, so we’re very excited,” added CHS assistant principal Vakisha Henard.

The program was conducted by members of the STEP (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents) program and funded through the Vocational Rehabilitation grant. Program facilitators asked students to think of their “dream life” and discussed the necessary steps to being successful after high school and working towards their individual goals.

CHS partners with WSCC for Dual-Enrollment programsCHS also promotes to their students the many dual-enrollment courses that they offer in partnership with Walters State Community College.

“The state of Tennessee has said that we need students to be ‘ready graduates,’” Henard said. “We’re working very hard at that. We actually call it ‘Mobuck Ready’ around here. Part of that is making sure students get all the opportunities they can for dual-enrollment.”

They recently created a classroom specifically for students taking these classes so that, as she explained, “our students get to stay here on campus but feel like they’re in a college setting.”

Some classes are taught by CHS faculty and some are taught by WSCC faculty who travel to CHS. They even offer evening dual-enrollment classes in this space.

Henard went on to explain that each student gets two free dual-enrollment classes and half of one more.

“If you use dual-enrollment, AP classes, the possibility of taking CLEP and state dual-credit, the possibilities are limitless,” Henard said of the programs. “We’ve had students graduate with 32 and 33 credit hours.”

Freshman Academy helps students be successful in first yearCHS’s freshman academy first opened in 2009, and, according to Henard, “has made a huge difference.”

Nearly all freshman-level classes are held within this wing of the school, with the idea that freshmen will have an easier time transitioning into high school if they are separated from the upper grades for the first year.

“It helps them to focus, and it helps them not to be distracted by the older students,” Henard explained. “They’re not as mature. There’s a big difference in a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old. It helps them gain that maturity before they go on and join everyone else.”

Apparently, this new building has also helped to increase graduation rates.

“When I first started working here, we would have 66 to 70 students fail freshman year every year,” Henard explained. “That was common. Then, students wouldn’t graduate. Now, we might only have three students who don’t have enough credits to be a sophomore, and it’s because of this environment (the freshman academy). It is caring and nurturing, and it helps them with that transition to high school.”

Watch for more information from the Review on CHS’s expanding CTE (Career Technical Education) programs.