DCHS students participating in Friday's pep rally. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)
Friday morning’s pep rally at David Crockett High School garnered a lot of school spirit, as various faculty members dressed up as DCHS cheerleaders and celebrity favorites from the TV show “Duck Dynasty” to help the students cheer on the football team for its game against Unicoi County that night.
But the school’s test score announcement of scoring a 4 on the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System inspired a lot of the celebration.
Dr. Ginger Christian, professional development coordinator for Washington County Schools, said the schools are measured on the TVAAS scale system and are given a numerical score each year between 1 and 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
In the past, DCHS has scored a 1 on the TVAAS, but this year the school, working with new programs and initiatives, achieved a 4.
“We’re going to announce that score to our students. We’re going to let them know how their hard work has paid off, how innovative teaching ideas and strategies have made a tremendous difference with our students here at David Crockett High School,” Christian said. “We’re going to celebrate our students and the growth that they have shown in their academic classes, specifically English, math, social studies and science.”
She said DCHS implemented several new things last year, including a Design Camp, where students, particularly freshmen, participated in an interactive math experience, as well as teachers meeting individually with students to discuss their functioning level in certain subjects and make plans for the students’ growth in the subjects.
“We have implemented a ... curriculum this year in Washington County, Common Core State Standards,” Christian said. “The entire state is about the process of this work. The curriculum is very rigorous. It’s very challenging, so we need students to understand that they are not going to give up.”
An “achievement period,” created by DCHS Principal Andrew Hare, was built into the school day, she said.
“That is a time where we are offering additional remediation or acceleration for students,” Christian said. “That’s during the school day and at the high school level. So many of our students have to go to work in the afternoon, they have sports, they have other commitments, so we knew we had to be proactive to bring them an opportunity to get help during the school day.”
Sporting a gold wristband that has “DCHS Drive For 5 2013-14” inscribed on it, Hare explained his excitement over the score celebration, as well as his enthusiasm over the “Drive For 5” initiative.
“It is just a great celebration of what we’ve achieved,” he said. “It has been a grass-roots effort, a total commitment from student to administration to teacher to custodian to everyone involved in this community, parents. We all had to buy in to what we were preaching and that was higher demands on our students and expectations and they’ve met the challenge. I’m very proud of them.
“We’ve still got another step to go,” Hare said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to motivate our children, to keep them on the path we need to be on, to keep moving in the direction where we want to be. We want to be a 5. We’re almost there.”
The energy inside the gym increased throughout the pep rally as teachers and students participated in cheers, and the school athletic teams were recognized.
Gearing up for their game against the Blue Devils, senior football players Justin Morrow and Tyler Carver said they enjoyed the pep rally.
“It pumps everybody up,” Carver said. “It gets everyone ready for the school year and it helps us with football.”
Morrow added that the DCHS “student section and our fans are behind us 110 percent this year, so it means a lot. They’re taking a pep bus and they’re coming to our game with us.”