Five schools from across the state were honored by the State Board of Education on Nov. 15 for making significant progress in closing gaps in student achievement.
In the photo: Charlie Edwards, vice president of the State Board of Education, congratulates Principal Doreen Knuth from Bloomer Elementary School in Council Bluffs as Superintendent Martha Bruckner and other school officials look on.
The winners of the 2012 Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award were announced during the annual Iowa Association of School Boards Convention in Des Moines.
Each year, the award recognizes successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps with approaches such as evidence-based instructional practices, high expectations and collaboration among teachers.
The schools were recognized for having the highest proficiency rates in math and reading among a specific subgroup of students, such as English Language Learners, students from low-income backgrounds, and students with disabilities.
The schools meeting these criteria are:
- Bloomer Elementary School, Council Bluffs Community School District (English Language Learners)
- Graettinger-Terril High School, Graettinger-Terril Community School District (Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches)
- Madison Elementary School, Davenport Community School District (African American students)
- Madison Elementary School, Muscatine Community School District (Latino students)
- Willowbrook Elementary School, Southeast Polk Community School District (students on an Individualized Education Program, or IEP).
Math and reading data were examined to determine the highest proficiency rates among the subgroups. Subsequent interviews with principals revealed commonalities between the winning schools: the use of evidence-based practices, a staff-wide commitment, high expectations and substantial collaboration among teachers.
Reducing the achievement gap is one of the State Board of Education’s top priorities.
“These schools are helping a diverse group of students succeed in school,” said Rosie Hussey, president of the State Board of Education. “Their efforts will continue to benefit not only their own students, but also their communities and the state for years to come.”
The Breaking Barriers Award was created by the State Board of Education.