Honors & Awards » Schools of Distinction Finalist

Schools of Distinction Finalist

Finalist for Intel & Scholastic Schools of Distinction

Tusculum View School Is Finalist for Major Award
By: Bill Jones/Staff Writer
Source: The Greeneville Sun

Tusculum View School is among 60 schools nationwide that have been named finalists in different categories of the Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction Awards.

The schools will compete for $230,000 in grants from the Intel Foundation and additional prizes from sponsoring companies to be presented at an awards ceremony this October.

Tusculum View Elementary, according to a press release from Intel Corporation, is a finalist in the Teamwork (Internal) category of the awards competition.

The 60 finalists were chosen from 3,300 public and private schools that participated in the application process. The judging process was overseen by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Inc., the release said.

It said that schools that are finalists in the Teamwork category "engage internal stakeholders in a teamwork approach" and have "a principal who works collaboratively in planning and decision-making with the administration, faculty, parents and volunteers."

Students, Staff Excited

Terri Rymer, principal of Tusculum View School said in a Friday interview that she and the school's staff and students were excited about learning that their school is a finalist for a national award.

Rymer, who is completing her 11th year as principal of Tusculum View, said "We're planning a big celebration for Monday morning."

Principal Rymer said, "There are only two schools in Tennessee that are finalists and we're next-door neighbors," she said, noting that Kingsport's Washington Elementary School also is a finalist in the internal teamwork category.

She said officials of the Greeneville school system had encouraged the staff of Tusculum View last fall to apply for the award in the internal teamwork category. A committee of Tusculum View teachers began work on the application last October and finished the document during the Christmas holiday.

The application committee, Rymer said, was made up of herself, Pat Donaldson, a special-education teacher; Stacy King, a second-grade teacher; and Melissa Morgan, a fifth-grade teacher.

The press release issued by Intel noted that the other finalists in the Teamwork (Internal) category are Kingsport's Washington Elementary School and:

• Cherry Hill High School West, Cherry Hill, N.J.;

• Lanai Road Elementary School, Los Angeles, Calif.;

• Middletown High School, Middletown, Md.; and

• Poland Regional High School and Whittier Middle School, Poland, Maine.

Other Awards Categories

The other categories in the national awards competition are, according to the release:

• Academic Achievement, in which finalists "show significant academic gains in test scores, graduation rates and students consistently achieve high academic standards";

• Collaboration (External), in which finalists "demonstrate commitment to and recognition of the important role that external stakeholders (families, businesses and community) play in supporting learning";

• Leadership Excellence, in which "dynamic leaders engage the school and implement comprehensive plans to meet current and future challenges, resulting in higher student achievement levels";

• Literary Achievement, in which "reading and writing curriculum is rationally designed to ensure high achievement levels and significant gains";

• Mathematics Achievement, in which "math curriculum is rationally designed to ensure high levels of achievement and significant gains";

• Professional Development, in which "culture encourages teachers, administrators and staff to work together as a community to improve student learning; continuously, thoughtfully plans professional growth and development";

• Science Achievement, in which "science curriculum is rationally designed to ensure high levels of achievement and significant gains";

• Technology Excellence, in which the school "excels in effectively using technology and demonstrates its strategic use throughout the school in several areas including school programs, curriculum and management";

• Technology Innovation, in which finalists "show unique, effective and innovative use of technology in a specific area of the school's program or curriculum"; and

• Best of the Best, in which the winner "demonstrates overall excellence; has comprehensive programs and consistently achieves high academic standards."

Ceremony In October

One elementary school and one secondary school winner will be chosen in each of the categories, based on three rounds of judging and site visits. From this pool, one school from each group will be named the winner in the "Best of the Best" category.

The two winners in each category will be named at an awards ceremony to be held Oct. 6, in Washington, D.C., and will each receive $10,000.

The two schools honored with a "Best of the Best" award will receive an additional $15,000 for a total award of $25,000 each.

The 20 winning schools will also each receive curriculum materials, professional development resources, software and hardware valued at more than $3 million.

GMS Won Last Year

If Tusculum View School wins its awards category this year, it will be the second Greeneville school in as many years to capture a category award in the national competition.

Greeneville Middle School last June was named a national winner in the "Technology Excellence" category of the competition.

GMS received a $10,000 cash prize, plus equipment and software valued at $105,000 as a result of its win.

The Schools of Distinction Awards program honors schools for implementing innovative and replicable programs that support positive educational outcomes, according to the news release issued by Intel.

"The program celebrates the successes of some of the nation's best schools," said Brenda Musilli, Intel director of education. "It allows us to highlight the effective use of technology, the benefits of strong math and science programs, and the development of excellent classroom teachers."