Franklin Elementary School is one of two Tennessee schools selected as a 2019 National ESEA Distinguished Schools for the extraordinary success of their students. There are only 73 schools across the nation to receive this recognition by the ESEA Network, a membership organization made up of ESEA Program Administrators and their staff charged with managing their state federal education program from each of the states and territories.
Franklin Special School District Director of Schools, Dr. David Snowden, said that Franklin Elementary’s year-round approach to scrutinizing student data as they plan for instruction is a key to the school’s success. “The academic growth of all students is grounded in the focus and dedication by the teachers, staff members and leadership at Franklin Elementary. Their consistent use of student data to inform instructional decisions remains paramount in their work each day,” Snowden said.
The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA)—formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (recently renamed from its predecessor, the National Title I Distinguished Schools program) since 1996. The recognition is meant to celebrate the efforts of schools across the country making significant improvements. School success is recognized in one of three categories:
• Category 1: Exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years
• Category 2: Closing the achievement gap between student groups for two or more consecutive years
• Category 3: Excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g. homelessness, migrant, English learners, etc.)
Franklin Elementary School, a prekindergarten through 4th grade school, was selected for recognition in Category 1. In 2018-2019, Franklin Elementary received the state’s highest rating, a Level 5, in Overall Student Growth on the State Report Card. Additionally, the school received a 4 out of 4 in Academic Achievement for all students. Franklin Elementary School was named a 2019 Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Principal Anne Riley is excited for her students and staff to be recognized for their hard work. “Our consistent academic growth and performance is a direct result of the work of a talented, dedicated faculty and staff who set high expectations for every student,” she said. “Our teachers have support from highly skilled reading and math coaches, specialists from the District, and actively engaged parents. The overall positive atmosphere at Franklin Elementary encourages students to thrive.”
While the ESEA national designation is a result of academic performance and growth, Riley believes it is her school’s commitment to the whole child that enables a successful and balanced approach to academics. “Our students have opportunities to participate in outstanding related arts classes. Exceptional music, art, library, physical education, and guidance classes are enjoyed by all of our students, which provides them with multiple avenues to showcase their talents and skills,” she said.
Title I is the cornerstone of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—it is the largest federally funded pre-college education program in the United States. Together with other federal education programs of the ESEA—which are jointly focused on student equity and access—they provide funding to school districts to aid primarily in the education of economically disadvantaged students.
NAESPA implemented the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program to highlight selected schools that have effectively used their ESEA federal funds to improve education outcomes for students. More information about all National ESEA Distinguished Schools is available on the NAESPA website: www.ESEAnetwork.org
The 2019 National ESEA Distinguished Schools will be honored February 5-6, at the 2020 National ESEA Conference in Atlanta, GA. The list of schools to be recognition as a 2019 National ESEA Distinguished School can be downloaded here. (States not listed did not participate in 2019.)