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Breaking Barriers

posted Jan 3, 2014, 9:50 AM by Darvin Graham
DES MOINES - Six schools from across the state were honored by the State Board of Education today for significant progress in closing gaps in student achievement.

The Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award was created by the State Board of Education. Each year, the award recognizes successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps among students who face challenges. This year's award-winners were recognized for having the highest proficiency rates statewide in math and reading among a specific subgroup of students, such as students who do not speak English as their native language and students from low-income backgrounds. Data from three years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school.


The schools that met this criteria are:


*         Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls: African American students (84.7 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 46.3 percent).

*         South Tama County Elementary, Tama: Native American students (75.8 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 59.3 percent).

*         Carroll High School, Carroll: Low socioeconomic status (86.4 percent proficiency rate in reading and math; statewide average for this subgroup is 61.3 percent).

*         Northeast Elementary, Ankeny: Students on Individualized Education Programs (75.8 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 32.3 percent).

*         Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids: Latino students (92.3 percent proficiency rate in reading and mathematics; statewide average for this subgroup is 58.8 percent).

*         Lenox Elementary School, Lenox: English language learners (86.4 percent proficiency rate in reading and math; statewide average for this subgroup is 42.6 percent).

Interviews with school principals revealed a common thread between the honored schools: the use of evidence-based practices, a staff-wide commitment, high expectations and substantial teacher collaboration.

Reducing the achievement gap is one of the State Board of Education's top priorities.

"We celebrate these schools because they've made major strides in helping students overcome challenges and achieve," said State Board of Education President Rosie Hussey. "We look to their leadership as we work to move our education system forward in Iowa."
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