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Steven N. Barnett
Towne Acres Elementary School
Johnson City Schools
Johnson City, Tennessee

At Towne Acres Elementary School, Principal Steven N. Barnett has pioneered the creative use of whole-school resources to help struggling students and created a parent involvement program including unprecedented levels of communication. With only three part-time teaching assistants to support instruction, limited human resources were available to help meet the needs of struggling students. In an innovative approach, Barnett harnessed every support staff member, including the bookkeeper, the secretary, and the library assistant to work in classrooms for up to two hours a day tutoring students who need extra help or extended learning opportunities. Due to an extra hour daily in the flexible Related Arts schedule, two art teachers also work an hour a day teaching small groups in level three RTI reading programs. Guided tours for new parents, two parent volunteer orientations, and seats on committees such as Reading and Science ensure that parents are involved in the school. Parents also support learning through the PTA and the Academic Booster Club, and Barnett provides ongoing information to educate parents on the Common Core and other issues. Teachers email parents every evening in grades two through four and weekly in kindergarten and first grade. The school website and individual teacher websites also provide ongoing communication to parents. The 345-student, kindergarten through fourth grade school was recognized as one of Tennessee’s most effective schools for raising student achievement by the Education Consumer’s Foundation in 2008. Barnett holds a B.S. from East Tennessee State University, an M.S. from the University of Tennessee, an Ed.S. from Tennessee Tech, and a Ed.D. from East Tennessee State University.