Fourteen school districts from across Iowa were honored by the State Board of Education for making major progress in closing gaps in student achievement. The Breaking Barriers to Learning and Teaching Award was created by the State Board and is presented each year to recognize successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps by improving instruction, curriculum and programs for students, and professional development opportunities for school staff.
School districts being recognized were Allamakee, Ames, Ankeny, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Marion, Muscatine, Saydel, Shenandoah, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Waterloo and Western Dubuque.
"The districts being honored this year represent a cross-section of Iowa, from every corner of the state and serving students from cities and farms, from small towns and suburbs. These districts have helped a diverse group of students gain greater success in the classroom," said State Board of Education President Rosie Hussey. "As Iowa works to recover from challenging economic times, this award highlights the critical role our schools and educators play in not only helping each student succeed, but in providing the people who will help our communities and state succeed in the future."
Districts earn the Breaking Barriers award if they saw proficiency in math or reading improve by at least 20% among two or more subgroups of students, while not allowing a decline of more than 5% in any other subgroup of students. Student subgroups include English Language Learners, minorities, low-income and special education students.
Districts meeting criteria to be recognized with a 2010 Breaking Barriers award were:
- Allamakee – Grade 6 SES; Grade 8 SES
- Ames – Grade 5 IEP; Grade 6 SES
- Ankeny – Grade 3 IEP; Grade 6 SES
- Burlington – Grade 3 IEP; Grade 5 IEP
- Cedar Rapids – Grade 3 ELL; Grade 5 Hispanic.
- Clinton – Grade 5 IEP; Grade 6 IEP
- Marion – Grade 3 SES; Grade 5 IEP
- Muscatine – Grade 3 IEP; Grade 5 IEP
- Shenandoah – Grades 5, 8, & 11, SES
- Storm Lake – Grade 6 SES; Grade 6 Hispanic
- Western Dubuque – Grade 7 SES; Grade 7 IEP
- Marion – Grade 4 SES; Grade 11 SES
- Saydel – Grade 5 SES; Grade 8 SES
- Sioux City – Grade 7 Asian; Grade 11 Asian
- Waterloo – Grade 5 Hispanic; Grade 11 IEP
NOTE: Acronyms listed above are for the following student subgroups:
- ELL - English Language Learner
- IEP - Individualized Education Plans
- SES - Socio-economic Status