The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has announced the winners of the fourth annual SCORE Prize. The winners – three public schools and one district– were recognized for being leaders in student learning in Tennessee.

The 2014 SCORE Prize winners are:

  • • Dresden Elementary School, part of Weakley County Schools, in the elementary school category.
  • • Hillsboro Elementary/Middle School, part of Williamson County Schools, in the middle school category.
  • • Covington High School, part of Tipton County Schools, in the high school category.
  • • Kingsport City Schools, a system of 13 schools serving prekindergarten through 12th grade students.


The school winners receive $10,000 each, and the district winner receives $25,000.

SP Trophy“The work of schools and districts to prepare students is vital to the continued economic vibrancy and well-being of our state, and these schools and districts show us what is possible,” said former Senator Bill Frist, the founder and chairman of SCORE who served as host for the event. “The SCORE Prize is one of those unique moments when we applaud and lift up Tennessee schools, school districts and their communities for their work to raise student academic achievement.”

“The SCORE Prize event is a celebration of the amazing work that is happening in classrooms across our state to prepare students for success after high school,” SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson said. “It is a celebration of teachers, school leaders, parents, community members and students who are rising to the challenge and achieving more.”

The SCORE Prize winners were selected from among nine schools in three categories and three school districts that were named finalists based on data of their performance on multiple student achievement measures. The SCORE Prize is the hallmark program to recognize Tennessee schools and districts that do outstanding work in raising student achievement, including college readiness performance by high schools and districts. After finalists were selected from among all public schools and districts in Tennessee, a team of state and national education leaders visited each site to see first-hand what these schools and districts are doing to produce outstanding results for students. Results were compiled and reviewed by a selection committee that decided the winners in secret ballot voting. (Watch a video about the SCORE Prize selection process.)

More than 1,000 educators, parents, students, public officials, and education stakeholders attended the SCORE Prize event in Laura Turner Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey delivered opening remarks, and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell was among those presenting awards.

The event also honored an elementary student from Maryville, a middle school student from Kingsport, and a high school student from Rutherford County for their winning submissions in the Students Rise to the Challenge scholarship competition. Each student winner will receive a $250 scholarship.

The evening ended with a performance by country music artist Dustin Lynch, who is a graduate of Tennessee public schools and the national spokesman for CMT’s Empowering Education initiative, which works to help CMT viewers overcome the most commonly perceived obstacles to furthering education.

About the Winners

Dresden Elementary School serves more than 450 students in grades PK-4. Dresden Elementary, led by Principal Michael Laughrey, has shown strong growth, particularly in math and science, and has three-year Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) proficiency rates that meet or exceed the state average in math, reading, and science.

Hillsboro Elementary/Middle School serves more than 300 students in grades 6-8 as well as PK-5 students. Hillsboro’s middle school students have demonstrated strong growth, particularly in math and science. The school, led by Principal Kari Miller, has three-year TCAP proficiency rates well above the state average.

Covington High in Covington won the SCORE Prize for an unprecedented third year in a row. The school, led by Principal Marcus Heaston, has an enrollment of nearly 750 students and posted strong gains in ACT performance and the college-going rate. Covington High also has demonstrated strong three-year growth on the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System in Algebra I and II.

Kingsport City Schools serves nearly 6,700 students in grades PK-12 in East Tennessee. The Kingsport system, led by Superintendent Lyle Ailshie, has demonstrated strong three-year growth in math, Algebra I and II, and science. Kingsport also has strong three-year ACT growth and performance. Kingsport also was a SCORE Prize finalist in 2013.

The Students Rise to the Challenge competition invited public school students in grades 3-12 to submit essays, videos, songs, or poems about how they are using lessons from their classrooms in the real world. Katie Workman, a third-grader at Foothills Elementary School of Maryville City Schools, won the elementary category with an essay about how she used math to help decide which Lego toy to buy with her birthday money. Vincent Gould, a sixth-grader at Robinson Middle School of Kingsport City Schools, won the middle school category with an essay about how he uses his science lessons in his Scouting activities. Spencer Beckman, a 12th-grader at Central Magnet School of the Rutherford County School District, won the high school category with an essay about how he uses his math learning to manage a six-figure budget for a charity that Rutherford County teenagers created to help people in Haiti.

The other schools and districts that were finalists for the 2014 SCORE Prize were:

  • • Elementary schools: Highland Park Elementary (Loudon County Schools) and Westwood Elementary (Manchester City Schools).
  • • Middle schools: Freedom Preparatory Academy (a public charter school in Shelby County Schools) and KIPP Academy Nashville (a public charter school in Metro Nashville Public Schools). Freedom Prep was also a finalist in 2013.
  • • High schools: Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School (Metro Nashville Public Schools) and Ravenwood High School (Williamson County Schools). Ravenwood was also a finalist in 2012.
  • • Districts: Maryville City Schools and Williamson County Schools. Maryville won the district SCORE Prize in 2011 and was a finalist in 2012.  Williamson County was also a finalist in 2011.


In the coming weeks, SCORE will release videos and in-depth case studies of all 12 SCORE Prize finalists. This work will be used throughout the year to highlight best practices in improving public education in Tennessee.