Five Iowa schools honored for breaking education barriers
DES MOINES – Five Iowa schools were honored today by the State Board of Education for their work to raise achievement among groups of students who traditionally face challenges in the classroom.
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.
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 whose first language is not English and students from low-income backgrounds. State assessment results from the last three years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school.
“These schools are taking major steps forward in closing gaps in achievement while also working to raise achievement for all students,” said Charlie Edwards, president of the State Board of Education.
This year's winners are:
- Riverdale Heights Elementary School, Pleasant Valley Community School District
Riverdale Heights Elementary has won the Breaking Barriers Award for an unprecedented four times in as many years. This year Riverdale Heights was honored for its work with students whose native language is not English, otherwise known as English Language Learners (ELL). Eighty-two percent of ELL students at the school are proficient in reading and math, compared to a statewide average of 50 percent among ELL students.
- Pleasant Valley High School, Pleasant Valley Community School District
For the first time ever, two schools from the same district have won the Breaking Barriers Award, with Pleasant Valley High School being honored for its work with black students. Eighty-nine percent of black students are proficient in reading and math, compared to a statewide average of 54 percent.
- Carlisle High School, Carlisle Community School District
Carlisle High School was honored for its work with Hispanic students. Among its Hispanic students, 98 percent are proficient in reading and math. That compares to a statewide average of 66 percent for the same group of students.
- Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School, Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District
Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School received its Breaking Barriers Award for its work with students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Among those students, 94 percent are proficient in reading and math, compared to a statewide average of 68 percent.
- Gilbert Intermediate School, Gilbert Community School District
Gilbert Intermediate School was honored for its work with students with disabilities who are on Individualized Education Programs. Among those students at Gilbert Intermediate, 79 percent are proficient in reading and math, compared to a statewide average of 35 percent.
Note: Photos of the winners will be available for download this afternoon from the Iowa Department of Education's Flickr.