Academic Success Award


University School receives award for High Academic Achievement!

Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) indicates how effective a school is at helping its students learn.





School: University School

Division: Eastern Tennessee

Category: K-8/Middle

Statewide ranking: 7th out of 530 K-8/Middle schools in Tennessee Awards

Ranking: Second in our division

Award: $2,000


The Education Consumers Foundation launched the Value-Added Achievement Awards in Tennessee in 2006. This annual awards initiative was created to recognize the most effective principals and schools in the state, while at the same time building awareness and understanding of the state's value-added data system (the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS)

Education reformers have made teacher quality a top concern in Tennessee and elsewhere – and rightly so. But without the support of a great principal, working quietly behind the scenes to create the conditions for success, even the best teachers will inevitably

be limited in what they can accomplish in the classroom. The Education Consumers Foundation is, therefore, proud to recognize the achievements of 18 of these principals from across the state through its annual Value-Added Achievement Awards.


The representative of the foundation presented this award to our University School Administration, Faculty, and Staff, on Monday, May 6th, 2013, at University School in the library during a ceremony at 10:30 a.m..  Winners are selected based on the most important school measurement available: Learning gains across the entire student body, as measured by Tennessee’s Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). TVAAS measures achievement gain in a way that permits schools to be compared regardless of the makeup of the student body. Schools whose students make the greatest annual gains in achievement earn the highest value-added scores.


TVAAS ranking system charts 


University School also won this award in 2008.


We are so proud of our school for receiving this award.  Students and parents appreciate the effort put forth by all University School administration, faculty, and staff members and we are thrilled to see them receive this award recognizing their success!

Click start to view slide show of Award Presentation ceremony.




The following article was printed in the Johnson City News and Neighbor
(727th Edition 05.11.13-05.17.13)



University School ranks among state’s best for performance, improvement


University School, on the campus of East Tennessee State University, has been named the second-highest achieving school in the kindergarten-through-middle school category for the eastern Tennessee region and the seventh highest in the state by the Education Consumers Foundation (ECF). Based in Arlington, Va., the ECF selects schools annually for Value-Added Achievement Awards.

The ECF is a not-for-profit education research organization, says Virginia Richards, program director. “We function as the Consumer Reports for education in terms of getting the data about what’s happening in the schools out to the consumers of education, the parents and students themselves. Most of our information comes from school boards, from the schools themselves. We’re trying to look at the data and find out objectively what schools are doing really well.”

“We mainly focus on scores on state tests that show how much a school is changing student achievement over the course of a year,” said Richards. “We’re looking at schools that are increasing expectations for students overall and rewarding those that are getting results.”

Each year, the state conducts tests that are referred to as value-added. The ECF takes those scores and converts them to a college style four-point GPA. Math and reading scores are double-weighted. There are 532 K-8 and middle schools in Tennessee. Using the ECF methodology for measuring success, University School ranked No.7 of 532.

University School earned a similar award in 2008. Under ECF rules, a school is ineligible for consideration until a principal has served five years in a school. This is the fifth year of service for principal Dr. Doyle Brinson and so the first year the school has qualified for the award program since his arrival.

Dr. John Stone, ECF president, attended the Monday morning ceremony and congratulated the principal and staff for winning the award. “University School is doing a splendid job of lifting the achievements of the students. This is really a premier school.”

“So many of these schools that are doing a great job are kind of the red-headed step-children of their school districts,” said Stone. “You’d be surprised sometimes how little recognition they get. The reason is that while this data is available, it’s really not all that visible and understandable. So we’ve taken on the job of making it so the average person can see which schools are really doing something different than the others. Before this it was kind of like playing football without a scoreboard. You just didn’t know when to cheer.”

Brinson noted, “This is kind of humbling. I’ve been in this business – this is my 41st year, and I have never been in a place that was as committed to children, top to bottom, as University School has been. So I will pick up this award for us, but the folks who do the work are the rest of the folks in this room who made this happen. There are a lot of support folks here. There are teachers. They’re the ones in the classrooms every day. The best judgment that I use every day is to get out of their way and let them work. They know what they’re doing. They are highly skilled.”

“Our kids work hard,” added Brinson. “The expectations that children have when they come here separate us from a lot of folks. Our teachers expect them to work hard and the kids expect to work hard. And parents have joined in with us on that.” The school received an ECF banner proclaiming its award-winning status, as well as a monetary award of $2,000.