Two local schools have made the Reward Schools list produced by the state to recognize the top 5 percent of schools in the state for annual growth and the top 5 percent for academic achievement related to achievement testing.
In the Greene County School System, South Greene High School made the list under both categories, performance and progress.
In the Greeneville City School System, Tusculum View Elementary School made the list for performance.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced 169 schools as the 2011-2012 Reward Schools on Monday.
Many of the state's schools celebrated by tuning in for a special webcast featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Governor Haslam, First Lady Crissy Haslam, and Commissioner Huffman.
"Tennessee is leading the way in education reform, and these schools demonstrate two key focuses of education in our state: high levels of achievement and continuous growth," Governor Haslam said at an event held at Kenrose Elementary School in Brentwood.
"Job creation and education are inextricably linked, and continuing our momentum in education reform is important as we work to make Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs," the governor added.
Tennessee has set out to become the fastest-improving educational system in the country by raising student performance each year, according to a recent news release.
This announcement marks the first time the state has recognized Tennessee schools that have shown the most progress year-over-year alongside the schools with the highest achievement scores on statewide tests.
South Greene was among nearly a quarter of the 169 schools on the Reward School list that actually earned both designations.
The school placed in the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state's top 5 percent for overall achievement, according to a new accountability system adopted through Tennessee's No Child Left Behind waiver.
The 2011-2012 Reward Schools made these accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw unprecedented gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, the release noted.
As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the 169 Reward Schools led the way, according to the release.
"We believe that all students deserve strong schools where they can grow to high levels of achievement," Huffman said.
"At the beginning of each year, every school in this state should know that they have a shot at becoming a Reward School."