The families of Signal Mountain have long known Thrasher as a quality school. With its recent naming as a state Reward School for the second year in a row - the only Hamilton County school to achieve that honor - the word is getting out.
Reward Schools are those that place among the top 5 percent for overall test scores or for growth on test scores. Last year, Thrasher students did both.
Former Thrasher principal Aimee Randolph, who served as head of the school during the two years it was recognized for being a Reward School, said the reasons for Thrasher's success are multifaceted.
"The students overall come to school ready to learn," she said, adding that their parents are very supportive and care about what's going on at the school.
Another factor in Thrasher's success is that teachers have moved beyond teaching simply through basic textbooks and worksheets, giving students a chance to participate by working with one another or through project- or problem-based learning, she said.
"Thrasher also has a strong focus on math, science and technology, which is so much a part of today's world," said Randolph.
Creativity and using one's imagination are stressed at the school as well, she said. Visual and performing arts are offered, along with "brain dance" at the kindergarten level.
"The arts enhance the creativity and curiosity of students," Randolph said, adding that the reading and writing workshops students participate in help them to become more effective communicators.
One of the most important factors for Thrasher's success is the teachers' willingness to grow professionally, she said. Perhaps the greatest factor is strong parental support and a strong connection between parents and the school, she said.
Current principal Regina Brock said she plans to continue Thrasher's success as a Reward School by staying focused on challenging goals and expectations for student achievement.
"Awards and recognition are nice, but our focus is on student learning," said Brock. "Our mission is to develop lifelong learners through positive learning experiences and we will continue to honor that mission."
She said she also plans to continue Thrasher's strong focus on professional learning.
"We are committed to continuous improvement," said Brock. "Our teachers are hard- working and very humble and are always thinking about teaching and learning."