The Tennessee Department of education says Howard High School is back in good standing.
The school has been ranked consistently low on test scores and achievement for almost a decade, but has shown enough improvement to be removed from state supervision.
DR. PAUL SMITH, PRINCIPAL, HOWARD HIGH SCHOOL "This is bigger news than we would have imagined..we're grateful for it."
For the first time in almost a decade, Howard High school is out from under a cloud.
Tennessee has dropped the Adequate Yearly Progress scale, in favor of a new accountability system.
And it changed the focus of local education and opened the door for Smith's innovative ideas.
DR. PAUL SMITH "Strategically placing students with the right teachers..great fit..formatively assessing kids along the way...and we have some good testing coordinators who are fantastic."
Paul Smith has been at Howard for 5 years, and he credits teachers, like Kelly Greene for changing the way subjects are taught.
KELLY GREENE, HISTORY TEACHER
Kelly Greene received a bonus from the state for her overall effectiveness in teaching english.
Principal Smith explains that Tennessee now favors through testing of students.
Callie Branam is in charge of testing at Howard.
CALLIE BRANAM, TESTING COORDINATOR "..how important it was to prepare for these tests..and take their schooling seriously. We've seen a tremendous improvement in the climate and culture of our building in the last couple of years since Dr. Smith has been here."
DR. PAUL SMITH "Its the same test that kids take across the state, and the standards in Tennessee have got increasingly more rigorous than they were before..so for our teachers, test coordinators and students to improve with tougher standards, it says a lot about the resilience of our kids and our faculties."
Six Hamilton county schools are on the state's Priority List.
Brainerd High School, Orchard Knob Middle School, Dalewood Middle, Woodmore Elementary, Orchard Knob Elementary and Girls Leadership Academy are listed as low-performing.
The state also identifies "focus" schools.
They are identified as those that show a big achievement gap between various racial and socio-economic groups.
There are four local schools on that list: Tyner Middle, Falling Water Elementary, Lakeside Academy, and Brown International Academy.