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Indian Trail, Liberty Bell named Top 50 middle schools in Tennessee

Top 50 Middle Schools


Indian Trail Intermediate School and Liberty Bell Middle School were both recognized in the inaugural US News & World Report rankings of the Top Middle Schools in Tennessee. Out of the 535 middle schools included in the rankings, Indian Trail ranked 42 and Liberty Bell ranked at 43.

 “We’re very pleased that both Indian Trail Intermediate School and Liberty Bell Middle School are performing at a level that places them in the top 50 middle schools in Tennessee,” Johnson City Schools Middle Grades Supervisor Todd Barnett said. “The exceptional performance of our middle grades students speaks to their efforts to arrive at school ready to learn and grow daily. Additionally, the commitment of our leadership teams and teachers at each school help create a climate where each student is encouraged to work toward their potential on a daily basis. We are very proud of them for this important recognition.”

Indian Trail Intermediate is the home of all 5th and 6th graders in Johnson City Schools. According to the data used by the US News & World Report, 59 percent of Indian Trail students scored at or above the proficient level for math, while 45 percent scored at or above that level for reading. The student-teacher ratio is 17:1. At Indian Trail, 52 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, while the school has 33.8 percent of minority enrollment. Also, 92 percent of the teachers at Indian Trail have three years or more of teaching experience.

“It is a great honor to be recognized as one of the top middle schools in the state of Tennessee,” Indian Trail Principal James Jacobs said. “Our faculty and staff have a tremendous work ethic and go above-and-beyond to create an outstanding school climate. We have supportive families and outstanding students who show up ready to learn every day. I am very proud of our Indian Trail family.”

Liberty Bell Middle Schools is the home of all 7th and 8th-grade students in Johnson City Schools and they finished with similar data to Indian Trail. According to the data used, 59 percent of Liberty Bell students scored at or above the proficient level for math, while 45 percent scored at or above for reading. The student-to-teacher ratio at LBMS is 20:1, while 32.6 percent of their enrollment is minority and 49 percent of their student body is economically disadvantaged. At LBMS, almost 91 percent of the teachers have at least three years or more of experience.

“Liberty Bell Middle School teachers and staff come to school each day believing in the hope and possibilities of each child in our building,” Liberty Bell Principal Holly Flora said. “Their hard work demonstrates their love for students and committed to helping each child succeed. We are blessed to work in a district where we are fully supported by our Central Office, Board of Education, and our engaged community in order to have the personnel and resources we need to help students reach their potential. I am grateful that our school has been recognized for the meaningful work that occurs each day and in our district.”

The data used to gather the rankings is from the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. According to the U.S. News & World Report, its methodology for K-8 schools focused on schools’ shares of students who were proficient or above proficient in their mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments. Half the formula was the results themselves; the other half was the results in the context of socioeconomic demographics. In other words, the top-ranked schools are all high achieving and have succeeded at educating all their students.

Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, Indian Trail and Liberty Bell will transition to two 6-8 middle schools, while 5th graders will return to their elementary school. For more information about the transition, please visit

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