Two schools in the Monroe County School District were recognized this week for receiving five-star ratings when the Kentucky Department of Education rolled out a new accountability system along with the release of state assessment scores for the 2018-19 school year.

The schools are Gamaliel and Tompkinsville Elementary.

“We are simply just thrilled. We are thrilled at their achievement, their hard work and dedication to student achievement have paid off,” said Amy Thompson, superintendent of Monroe County schools.

She attributed the schools' success to relationships, RTI (Response to Intervention), data analysis and aligned curriculum with meaningful lessons.

Both schools have a long history of being high performers.

“They have done well for the past three or four years. Both of those schools have been Blue Ribbon Schools. It's been a few years, but they have that in their accomplishments. They've both been distinguished schools. When it comes to the accountability system, they have had several years of success,” she said.

The new accountability system assigns the state, school districts and schools with an overall star rating ranging from one to five, with one being the lowest and five being the highest.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis explained during a press conference on Monday what it means for a school to receive a four-or five-star rating.

“A four and a five-star school means you have schools that have rated in the really exceptional part of our school rating and accountability system. That's exceptional performance,” he said.

According to a press release issued by the Kentucky Department of Education on Monday and embargoed until Tuesday, only 56 schools statewide received five star ratings. Of that amount, 37 were elementary schools. Twelve were middle schools, and seven were high schools.

“We're just really, really excited, but it's all just the hard work of some great teachers in our building and we all work hard to form relationships with our kids so that we can push them to their highest potential and that's what we strive to do here every day is to push them a little bit harder. We are just super excited,” said Jessica McPherson, principal at Gamaliel Elementary.

She also said her school has a very supportive community.

“A lot of schools have to beg for donations. We never have to beg for support. We live in a great community,” McPherson said. “We also have some great family support.”

The star ratings are based on the 2018-19 Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress or K-Prep assessment data and other indicators.

Such indicators taken into consideration when assigning star ratings for schools at the elementary and middle levels are proficiency in reading, mathematics, social studies, science and writing; separate academic; and growth/progress over one academic year.

Both schools scored above state average in all proficiency indicators.

State averages for proficiency indicators are: Reading, 54.6 percent; Math, 48.6 percent; Writing, 46.6 percent; Social Studies, 53 percent; and Science, 31.7 percent.

Scores for Gamaliel Elementary are: Reading, 84.7 percent; Math, 83.8 percent; Writing, 65.1 percent; Social Studies, 95.3 percent; and Science, 56.3 percent.

Scores for Tompkinsville Elementary are: Reading, 88.7 percent; Math, 74.4 percent; Writing, 66.3 percent; Social Studies, 83.8 percent; and Science, 59.6 percent.

Overall scores for indicators for Gamaliel Elementary are: Proficiency, 100.8; Separate Academic, 89.2; Growth, 54.1.

Overall scores for indicators for Tompkinsville Elementary are: Proficiency, 97.8 percent; Separate Academic, 84.8 percent; Growth, 62.5 percent.

In addition to having two schools to receive five-star ratings, the school district also had one school, Monroe County High School, to appear on the Commissioner's List. The 20 schools that appear on that list are recognized for exhibiting extraordinary growth and academic progress and have had at least a 10 point gain in proficiency from 2017-18 to 2018-19, and received a very high label for the growth indicator for elementary and middle schools or the transition indicator for high schools in 2018-19.

MCHS is also a four star school.

Thompson pointed out that MCHS is the only four star school in the Glasgow Daily Times' coverage area.

There were 233 four-star schools in the state, and of that amount 146 were elementary schools, 60 middle schools and 27 high schools, the press release said.

“I'm very proud of our high school, staff, students and parents. They work hard and they work together. I'm just thrilled. I'm so pleased with all of them. We are about kids and making sure kids have what they need to be successful, not just now but also in the future,” she said.

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