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Jackson will issue ruling on motion to transfer custody of Sonya to Nebraska by 4 pm Friday

Sonya McCaul (from Facebook)

Sonya McCaul (from Facebook)

Dickson County Juvenile Court Judge Andy Jackson said he will issue a ruling on whether to transfer custody of 10-year-old Sonya McCaul from Tennessee to Nebraska by 4 pm Friday, likely meaning it will be his last act as judge. Following a hearing in Charlotte Thursday, Jackson took under advisement a motion from John McCaul’s attorney asking that decisions about Sonya’s future be placed with the Nebraska Children’s Commission instead of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Attorney Lynn Coffinberry said that a recently obtained court document from Nebraska means the last eight years of Sonya living in Dickson County and being adopted by foster parents Kim and David Hodgin should never have happened. Coffinberry told Jackson that a court order granting custody of infant Sonya to John McCaul with visitation rights for her biological mother was in place before the child’s baby-sitter ever brought her to Tennessee. “This child should have been transferred to the state of Nebraska initially,” Coffinberry argued. She said it appears that nobody affiliated with the case when it first entered the Dickson County courts in 2006 was aware of the existing court order. She said that the prior order means Tennessee never had jurisdiction to make any custody ruling and “it doesn’t make sense to leave this child in the custody of the state of Tennessee.” But an attorney for the Hodgins continued to argue for a best-interest hearing, saying the court’s emergency custody rulings from 2006 were justified by the fact that the child had no parent in Tennessee when the court determined she was neglected and abandoned. He also argued that John McCaul or any other family member did not appeal the original court rulings and that currently pending matters in Dickson County Chancery and Circuit courts should be resolved before any decision regarding custody is made. At the conclusion of the 45-minute hearing, Jackson said he is inclined to grant the motion to transfer custody to the state of Nebraska but wants to do some more research on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Jackson said he would issue a written ruling by 4 pm Friday, which marks the end of his 33-year tenure as Dickson County Juvenile and Probate Court judge. The opinion will not be issued in open court but will be faxed to the attorneys for all the involved parties.

Father’s attorneys asking to move custody of Sonya from Tennessee to Nebraska in hearing today

Sonya McCaul (from Facebook)

Sonya McCaul (from Facebook)

With his 33-year tenure on the bench coming to an end Friday, Dickson County Juvenile Court Judge Andy Jackson has scheduled one more hearing in the custody case that has dominated his last eight months in office. Jackson will conduct a hearing Thursday morning on a motion by John McCaul to move the custody battle over 10-year-old Sonya McCaul from Tennessee to Nebraska. McCaul’s attorney filed a motion Wednesday to begin the process of transferring custody of Sonya from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to the Nebraska Children’s Commission. Sonya has been living with her biological father in Nebraska since January and attorney Lynn Coffinberry and Sonya’s guardian and attorney ad litem have reported on several occasions that she is happy and doing well not only with her family, but also in school. But attorneys for Kim and David Hodgin, the child’s former foster parents in Dickson County, objected to the short notice for the motion filed Wednesday, so Jackson scheduled a hearing Thursday morning in Charlotte. The Hodgins’ attorneys also are expected to contend that Jackson cannot act on the motion because there are pending matters in Dickson County Circuit and Chancery courts that must be resolved first. The Hodgins filed a petition to terminate John McCaul’s parental rights based on the fact that he originally received a 15-year prison sentence on weapons charges. That sentence prompted a Dickson County court to terminate McCaul’s rights and the Hodgins were then able to adopt Sonya. But when McCaul’s sentence was reduced and he was released early, an appeals court overturned the adoption, which eventually led to Jackson’s order in January returning physical custody of Sonya to her biological father. The Hodgins’ attorneys contend the law does not require a parent to serve more than 10 years, but only be sentenced to more than 10 years to have his or her rights terminated. A motion by McCaul’s attorneys to dismiss the Hodgins’ petition is currently being considered by Judge Robert Burch, whose 34-year tenure on the bench also ends Friday. Based on the outcome of the petition to terminate, the Hodgins also have a petition to again adopt Sonya pending in chancery court. Jackson is scheduled to hear arguments on the motion to move Sonya’s case to Nebraska today in what is likely to be his last session as juvenile and probate court judge for Dickson County. The winner of this month’s election, Michael Meise was sworn in as the new juvenile court judge Tuesday and begins his term Monday.

Shelton’s trial on 52 prescription fraud charges postponed due to investigation of co-defendant

January Paige Shelton (from Facebook)

January Paige Shelton (from Facebook)

The trial of a Charlotte woman charged with calling in unauthorized prescriptions for narcotics was postponed Wednesday because her co-defendant is under investigation for her husband’s death. 35-year-old January Paige Shelton was scheduled to stand trial on 52 counts of obtaining drugs by fraud, but District Attorney-elect Ray Crouch asked a judge to delay that trial because co-defendant Mendy Powell Neal is the subject of a homicide investigation. On Tuesday, Crouch asked for a delay in Neal’s trial on nine prescription fraud charges because of the ongoing investigation into the death of her husband, 50-year-old Matthew Neal, in a July 11, 2012, fire that destroyed the couple’s Loggins Road home. In asking for the delay for Shelton in Dickson County Circuit Court Wednesday, Crouch only said that co-defendant Neal is the subject of the investigation that is expected to go to the grand jury soon. Following the appearance, Crouch would not comment on if or how Shelton is connected to the homicide investigation. During a June 2013 preliminary hearing, Dickson Police Department Det. Brian Beasley testified Shelton worked as a medical assistant at Dickson Medical Associates from December 2001 until she was terminated in January 2013 after records turned up a discrepancy in prescriptions for various narcotics, including painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers and other medications. Beasley said Shelton admitted to calling in unauthorized prescriptions to area pharmacies in her name, her mother’s name and the name of friends, including Shelton, over a period of a year. Following the June hearing, Shelton was bound over to the grand jury on 90 counts of obtaining drugs by fraud. The grand jury ended up indicting Shelton on 52 counts last August. Shelton did not speak during her brief appearance in court Wednesday with defense attorney Mike Flanagan. Dickson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burch, whose 34-year tenure on the bench ends Friday, scheduled Shelton for the Sept. 8 appearance docket of Judge Larry Wallace for a new trial date to be set at that time. Crouch declined to comment on any possible connection between the charges against Shelton and the investigation into Matthew Neal’s death and said no plea offer has been extended to Shelton.

TDOT offering school system $151,000 for property at Oakmont, DMS needed for Highway 46 project

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is offering the Dickson County school system a little under $151,000 for property it needs as part of its plan to improve Highway 46. According to documents being presented to the Dickson County School Board tonight, the state is offering $780 for a small amount of property along Oakmont Drive and $150,057 for a strip of land in front of Dickson Middle School. The sale agreements dated Aug. 6 already have been signed by Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks and school board Chairman Tim Potter. Weeks reported at last month’s meeting that he had received the proposal for the Oakmont Drive property and was expecting the proposal for property along East College Street very soon. With the board of education having 30 days to respond to the state’s offers, Weeks said he anticipated having to call a meeting of the board’s executive committee to take action before tonight’s scheduled school board meeting. The state is taking the property as part of its Traffic System Management plan to improve Highway 46 by redesigning several intersections and adding synchronized traffic signals. Weeks said TDOT is taking a strip of land next to Oakmont Drive 6-8 feet wide and about 50 feet long for the widening of the street to add a turning lane. The state is offering $780 for that land. Marshall Stuart Drive will be moved to line up across from Oakmont Drive and traffic signals will be installed. The TDOT plan also calls for the addition of a second westbound lane on East College Street from Highway 46 to Academy Street, which will serve as a right-turn lane. The department is offering $150,057 for the property in front of Dickson Middle School it will need for the project. The two projects are part of an $8 million proposal to improve traffic flow on Highway 46 between Interstate 40 and Henslee Drive. The TDOT proposals, apparently already approved by the executive committee, will be presented to the full school board tonight. The agenda also includes a proposed contract with C&I Design to expand its scope of work to include phase II of the school system’s facilities improvement plan. The board previously hired C&I Design to do the safety and security upgrades in phase I, but Mayor Bob Rial’s proposal to borrow $6 million for improvements prompted the board to move ahead with phase II. The board also is expected to get its first look at enrollment figures for the new school year and how they might impact overcrowding situations at any schools. The school board meets at 7 pm in the board of education central office in Dickson.

2nd petition to get wine in grocery stores on Nov. 4 ballot in Burns facing election commission review

While efforts by the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association to get wine-in-grocery-stores referendums on the Nov. 4 ballots in Dickson, White Bluff, Burns and Charlotte failed, a citizen-organized effort to put the question on the ballot in Burns is still alive. Dickson County Administrator of Elections Linda Medley said a separate petition seeking to put the question before Burns voters will be considered by the Dickson County Election Commission at its Sept. 16 meeting. At its meeting last week, the five-member election commission rejected petitions submitted by the grocer association’s non-profit group Red White and Food, which organized petition drives across the state. Election officials said none of the group’s petitions met the requirement of having the minimum qualified voter signatures equal to 10 percent of the votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election, which in Burns would be 34 signatures. But apparently a separate petition effort organized by citizens of Burns was not presented to the commission last week. The commissioners did approve a citizen-organized petition to put a referendum on allowing liquor by the drink in Burns on the Nov. 4 ballot. Burns Mayor Landon Mathis said while he did not participate in the petition drives, he had been told the liquor-by-the-drink and wine-in-grocery-stores petition drives had been conducted simultaneously and should contain mostly the same signatures. Medley said the election commission only reviewed the Red White and Food group petitions, which all failed to collect the required minimum number of signatures of qualified voters, but did not review the separate petition from Burns. The legislature left it up to the voters in individual municipalities to decide whether to allow wine sales in grocery stores, which has been hotly debated for years. If approved by the voters, grocery stores with at least 1,200 square feet of retail sales space that generate at least 20 percent of their income from food sales would be allowed to begin selling wine in 2016. Burns voters already will be voting on whether to allow mixed drink sales on the Nov. 4 ballot and, if the latest petition is approved by the election commission, could be voting whether to allow wine sales in grocery stores. The Burns ballot also features a contested race for mayor and five candidates seeking four seats on the Burns Board of Commissioners. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6.

Dragons, Tigers hope to keep unbeaten records, Colonels look to end 2-game slide in action tonight

Dickson and Charlotte middle schools look to remain unbeaten tonight while William James Middle hopes to snap a two-game losing streak. The Dragons will be playing only their second game of the season with a trip to Spring Hill to face the Generals. After its first game with Charlotte was canceled due to storms, Dickson opened the season by beating E.O. Coffman in Lawrenceburg 38-20 before having an open date last week. The Dragons and Generals game will be on all channels of the RFC Sports Network tonight with the A-1 Signs Pregame Show starting at 6:15 and kickoff set for 6:30. Charlotte’s Tigers reeled off back-to-back wins over Cheatham Middle and Clarksville Academy with J.J. Higgins and Roy Driver leading a powerful running attack. Charlotte will be tested when Waverly’s Wildcats visit the Tigers at 6:30 tonight. After shutting out Houston County in their opener, the William James Colonels dropped decisions to Harpeth and Hickman County by a combined 42-8 score. The Colonels look to get back in the win column when they host East Hickman tonight at 6:30. Tomorrow night Dickson County High School is at Columbia while Cheatham County visits Creek Wood with both games starting at 7:00.

Prescription fraud trial postponed because woman is target of investigation for husband’s death in fire

Fire victim Matthew Neal

Fire victim Matthew Neal

A woman whose husband died in a 2012 fire that destroyed their Charlotte home is the subject of a homicide investigation that is expected to be presented to a Dickson County grand jury soon. District Attorney-Elect Ray Crouch Jr. made that announcement in Dickson County Circuit Court Tuesday in asking for a delay in the prescription fraud trial of 34-year-old Mendy Powell Neal, now of Firetower Road in Tennessee City. Neal was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday for nine counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud. She was indicted a year ago as part of a scheme allegedly headed by 35-year-old January Paige Shelton of Charlotte, who prosecutors say called in unauthorized prescriptions for painkillers, muscle relaxers, sleep aids, antidepressants and anxiety medications during a year-long period while working at Dickson Medical Associates. The indictments charge Neal with picking up prescriptions called in by Shelton in Neal’s name for Hydrocodone, Xanax and Valium on nine occasions between May and December 2012, including one on July 11, the day 50-year-old Matthew B. Neal died in a fire that destroyed their home on Loggins Road off Highway 47 in Charlotte. Investigators said Mendy Neal claimed she awoke to discover smoke in her second-story bedroom around 2 am and could not wake her husband, who was asleep in a first-floor room, before she was forced to flee the flames. The couple’s two children were staying with friends that night. Following Neal’s arrest in February 2013, police opened a new investigation into the fire. On Tuesday, Crouch told Dickson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burch that the state is investigating a homicide involving Neal that he expects to be presented to the next term of the grand jury. Neal did not speak during her appearance in court Tuesday with defense attorney Olin Baker. Burch placed her case on Judge Larry Wallace’s Sept. 8 docket to have a new trial date set. Burch is retiring from the bench Friday. Crouch would not comment on evidence from the homicide investigation following Tuesday’s hearing. During a June 2013 preliminary hearing, Det. Brian Beasley testified that Shelton confessed to calling in unauthorized prescriptions in the names of friends and her mother and that Neal asked her to call in prescriptions for her. Neal’s attorney says his client was “distraught” over her husband’s death and does not remember picking up the fraudulent prescriptions, even though the indictments charge she did so on three occasions prior to the fatal fire.

Trial for man charged with raping disabled woman in Walmart delayed while new attorney to be hired

The trial of a man accused of raping a disabled woman in broad daylight in the Dickson Wal-mart store was postponed Monday so the defendant can get a new lawyer because his attorney is about to become a judge. 26-year-old Justin Cory Chandler of Centerville faces a charge of rape following an alleged July 31, 2012, sexual assault of a woman with cerebral palsy while she was shopping with her young daughter. Chandler was scheduled to stand trial Monday in Dickson County Circuit Court, but Judge Robert Burch granted a continuance because Chandler’s attorney is David Wolfe, who will take Burch’s place on the bench starting Monday. With Burch retiring, Wolfe won an unopposed race for the 23rd Judicial District Division I seat in this month’s election. Wolfe told Burch Monday that he was advised by the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts to immediately begin handing off his pending cases to other attorneys. Wolfe said he has been in discussion with other lawyers about taking over his cases but has not yet confirmed a new attorney for Chandler. Burch placed Chandler’s case on Judge Larry Wallace’s Sept. 8 docket for a new attorney to file notice of representation and to have a new trial date set. Chandler has been in the Hickman County Jail since January after being arrested on a violation of probation warrant. In May 2013, it was discovered Chandler had placed an ad on Craigslist seeking a female roommate to move in with him in an apartment in Columbia. A judge ordered Chandler to stay off the internet and to get the court’s permission before moving or changing jobs. Burch will administer the oath of office to Wolfe in a ceremony Friday afternoon and the new judge takes the bench for his first day in court Tuesday.

Mayor Bob Rial ‘enthusiastic’ for next four years as Dickson County officials take oaths for new terms

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Mayor Bob Rial in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Mayor Bob Rial in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

After taking the oath of office for his second term, Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial said he is proud of the progress the county has made over the last four years and is looking forward to continuing that work. “I think I’m more excited and enthusiastic than I was four years ago,” Rial told a crowd that gathered Tuesday night in the Dickson County High School auditorium to see the winners of this month’s county election take the oaths of office. Rial recalled four years ago at the swearing in ceremony at Creek Wood High School talking about what he called the “politics of distrust” that existed in Dickson County. “We have overcome that,” he said Tuesday. In addition to thanking his family, Rial also singled out former County Executive Janet Harris and former County Mayor Linda Frazier for their assistance in his first term and the spirit of cooperation from the Dickson County Commission. Rial was the only official to speak after taking the oath of office from Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Thomas Woodall. Just prior to the ceremony at DCHS, Rial had administered the oaths of office to Mayor Bill Davis and the six newly elected members of the Charlotte Town Council prior to its monthly meeting at Town Hall. Incumbents Sherri Thiel, Shelia Sesler, Jim Robertson, Gene Miller and Donnie Allen were joined by new Councilman Alex Spann in taking the oaths prior to a short monthly meeting that marked the end of the term for Tim Reynolds, who was not re-elected earlier this month. Woodall also administered the oaths of office to Road Superintendent Jerry Burgess, County Clerk Luanne Greer, Circuit Court Clerk Pam Choate Myatt, General Sessions Court Clerk Barbara Spann, Trustee Glynda Barrett Pendergrass, Register of Deeds Shelly Lynch Yates, Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Michael Meise, General Sessions Court Judge Craig Monsue, White Bluff Municipal Court Judge Leonard G. Belmares II, 11 of 12 members of the Dickson County Commission, Dickson County School Board members Ricky Chandler, Tim Potter and Josh Lewis, Constable Tim Cunningham and the six members of the Dickson County Road Commission. Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, 2nd District County Commissioner Jeff Eby, Dickson Municipal Court Judge Reese Holley and Constable Michael Baker were not able to attend Tuesday’s ceremony and will take their oaths at another time. Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash and Public Defender Jake Lockert took their oaths of office in a ceremony Sunday in Ashland City. Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe and District Attorney Ray Crouch Jr. will be sworn in Friday afternoon in Charlotte. The winners of the Aug. 7 election begin their new terms of office Monday.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Road Superintendent Jerry Burgess in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Road Superintendent Jerry Burgess in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

 

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to County Clerk Luanne Greer in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to County Clerk Luanne Greer in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Circuit Court Clerk Pam Choate Myatt in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Circuit Court Clerk Pam Choate Myatt in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to General Sessions Court Clerk Barbara Spann in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to General Sessions Court Clerk Barbara Spann in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Trustee Glynda Barrett Pendergrass in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Trustee Glynda Barrett Pendergrass in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Register of Deeds Shelly Lynch Yates in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Register of Deeds Shelly Lynch Yates in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Michael Meise in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Michael Meise in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to General Sessions Court Judge Craig Monsue in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to General Sessions Court Judge Craig Monsue in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to White Bluff Municipal Court Judge Leonard G. Belmares II in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to White Bluff Municipal Court Judge Leonard G. Belmares II in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) County Commissioners Randy Simpkins, Shane Chandler, Kelly Sesler Weatherspoon, Cotton Dawson, Benny Spencer, Carl Buckner, Kyle Sanders, Tony Adams, Booty Reed, Linda Hayes and Randy Hogin in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) County Commissioners Randy Simpkins, Shane Chandler, Kelly Sesler Weatherspoon, Cotton Dawson, Benny Spencer, Carl Buckner, Kyle Sanders, Tony Adams, Booty Reed, Linda Hayes and Randy Hogin in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) school board members Ricky Chandler, Josh Lewis and Tim Potter in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) school board members Ricky Chandler, Josh Lewis and Tim Potter in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Constable Tim Cunningham in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to Constable Tim Cunningham in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) Road Commissioners Kenneth Edmisson, Austin Potter, John Baggett, Clay Simpkins, Ben Regen and Orval Sesler in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tommy Woodall (left) administers the oath of office to (left to right) Road Commissioners Kenneth Edmisson, Austin Potter, John Baggett, Clay Simpkins, Ben Regen and Orval Sesler in a ceremony at Dickson County High School Tuesday night.

Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial (left) administers the oath of office to Charlotte Town Council members (left to right) Shelia Sesler, Alex Spann, Sherri Thiel, Jim Robertson, Donnie Allen and Gene Miller and Mayor Bill Davis in a ceremony Tuesday night.

Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial (left) administers the oath of office to Charlotte Town Council members (left to right) Shelia Sesler, Alex Spann, Sherri Thiel, Jim Robertson, Donnie Allen and Gene Miller and Mayor Bill Davis in a ceremony Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 local schools make state’s Reward Schools list, 1 on Focus School list for students with disabilities

Three Dickson County elementary schools have been designated as Reward Schools by the Tennessee Department of Education. Reward schools are the top 5 percent of schools in the state for performance and top 5 percent for progress. Performance is measured by overall student achievement levels by the number of students determined to be proficient or above proficient in standardized testing. Progress is year-to-year growth as measured by the Tennessee Value Added Assessment Service. The Discovery School has been designated as a Reward School based on its achievement scores. Centennial Elementary School and White Bluff Elementary School were designated as Reward Schools based on their growth. For 2014, there were 168 Reward Schools in 49 school districts, with 67 recognized for performance, 84 for progress and 17 for being in the top 5 percent for both measurements of accountability. The Department of Education also designates Priority Schools and Focus Schools in its accountability report as part of the waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind mandate. Priority Schools are the lowest-performing 5 percent based on achievement. No Dickson County schools were designated as Priority Schools for 2015. The Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students or graduation rates of 60 percent or less. Oakmont Elementary School is on the list of Focus Schools for the gap in achievement scores between students with disabilities versus non-students with disabilities.