“Let’s start the 2011-12 school year celebrating what’s right in education,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers as he announced the names of 116 schools receiving recognition for their success in educating students from low-income families.
The 2011-12 Wisconsin School of Recognition awards go to schools that have some of the highest poverty rates in the state based on free and reduced-price school lunch data. Student achievement on the 2010-11 state reading and mathematics examinations was above average for schools from similarly sized districts, schools, grade configurations, and poverty levels. Each school also met adequate yearly progress for the past two years. Additionally, the schools either are Title I eligible or receive Title I funding to provide services to high numbers or high percentages of economically disadvantaged children.
“In these schools, teachers, parents, administrators, other school staff members, and the community work together to create an educational environment that supports children’s learning,” Evers said. “This award recognizes their efforts and sets a tone for the 2011-12 school year: celebrate success, strive for ever-higher achievement, and always focus on children’s learning.”
Locally, both Seneca and North Crawford were among those districts with schools receiving the Wisconsin School of Recognition honor. In both districts, it was the elementary school, which received the School of Recognition designation this year. Others locally designated as Schools of Recognition included Boscobel Junior High School, DeSoto’s Prairie View Elementary School, LaFarge Elementary and Middle Schools, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Elementary School, Richland Middle School, Riverdale Elementary School and Weston High School.
Schools meeting all four criteria will receive a plaque at an Oct. 12 awards ceremony at the State Capitol and $5,000 for use by the school. During the awards ceremony, 10 schools will receive flags for earning the Wisconsin School of Recognition award for five consecutive years. Another 14 schools have received the award for more than five years — three for all nine years of the program. This year’s 116 Wisconsin School of Recognition Award recipients include 80 elementary schools, 20 middle or junior high schools, and 16 high schools.
Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland noted that it was the second year in a row that Seneca Elementary School was a Wisconsin School of Recognition. He pointed out that between the elementary and middle school, the district had received School of Recognition honors 13 times in the last eight years.
Boland attributed the schools’ success to a strong staff and committed parents, who care about the kids. He also said it was ultimately effort on the part of the students that achieved the School of Recognition designation.
The Seneca administrator further credited an improved curriculum in the school, including a Reading First Initiative that the district was able to institute through a state grant.
North Crawford Elementary School Principal Brandon Munson believes a key to succeeding in educating economically disadvantaged children is “setting high expectations for the students and providing them with the tools to be effective in the classroom.”
Munson also noted that many of the Schools of Recognition were located in southwestern Wisconsin.
“A lot of the area schools may not have the money and resources of some of the more well off districts, but we still can educate students too a very high level,” Munson said.
Munson, much like Boland, attributed a lot of the success to “who we have in the classroom pushing these students to that very high level.”
“Our schools continually strive to overcome the link between poverty and educational challenge. They establish rigorous programs of academic instruction that support individual student needs,” Evers said. “The staff and administration of the 2011-12 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition are to be commended.”