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Bobby Ray celebrates Reward School status
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Bobby Ray instructional coordinator Regina Woodlee, left, and principal Monti Hillis hold a cake as they prepare to celebrate with other faculty members the achievement of being named a Reward School.

As Tennessee elementary school test scores are waning, Bobby Ray principal Monti Hillis, school staff and students are celebrating their achievement of being named by the Tennessee Department of Education as a Reward School.  

The status is attained when a weighted score of 3.1 or higher is earned and the school is not identified as a Focus or Priority School. Bobby Ray scored TVASS School Composites of 5 in every category, rebounding back from a score of 1 in 2018-19.

Education Commis-sioner Penny Schwinn said in the announcement, “These schools have shown how Tennessee districts and schools can overcome a variety of challenges including a global pandemic that impacted the past several months, including the majority of the 2020-21 school year. During these difficult times, the department continues to celebrate hard work of our districts, educators, and students across the state.”

Principal Hillis said of the 2020-21 school year, “It was the height of the pandemic and totally unpredictable. We didn’t know what to expect from day to day. The teachers had to totally revamp their curriculum and put five days of material into four. The children were going back and forth between virtual learning and in-classroom learning. It was a daily struggle for both the teachers and the students and we are so proud of them. Even through the craziest of times, they stayed focused. Now, we just want to keep it up.”

Regina Woodlee, instructional coordinator for Bobby Ray said, “In addition to all of the above, we were dealing with absenteeism from those who were sick and many who had close contact with and were exposed to COVID. We cannot say enough about how hard everyone worked from the teachers, the janitorial staff who had so many extra duties working tirelessly keeping everything clean, and the school nurse simply wore herself out. The kitchen staff continued to work every day providing daily lunches.”

Hillis, Woodlee and the entire staff are looking at what worked well and what did not in order to obtain a repeat of this success.