The Education Trust have announced the 2011 winners of the Ninth Annual Dispelling the Myth Award. The award recognizes public schools closing the achievement gap and educating all of their students to high levels, says a press release.
The 2011 award winners are:
Baylor-Woodson Elementary School, Inkster, Mich.
Nearly all of Baylor-Woodson's students, most of whom are African American, met reading and math standards. 73 percent of the school's fifth-graders scored as advanced in math in 2010, compared with 45 percent in the state. Reading proficiency rates are almost as strong, with 63 percent having scored as advanced, compared with 44 percent statewide.
"We're not perfect, but we work together," said fifth-grade teacher Nelson A. Henry about the staff at Baylor-Woodson. His sentiments were echoed by a parent, who said, "The staff works together — their main goal is that the students achieve success."
Calcedeaver Elementary School, Mount Vernon, Ala.
Calcedeaver has consistently produced among the highest reading and math proficiency rates in the state. In 2011, 94 percent of sixth-graders met state standards in reading. 80 percent of them exceeded the standards, compared with 63 percent of their peers around the state. Now nearly all Calcedeaver alumni earn a high school diploma.
"Despite our conditions," says Principal Susan Jill Dickinson, "we are truly dedicated to top-notch instruction and providing our children a loving and stimulating learning environment."
Halle Hewetson Elementary School, Las Vegas
This year, 79 percent of Hewetson's fifth-graders met state reading standards, compared with 63 percent statewide; and 63 percent met the state's writing standards, compared with 45 percent across Nevada. All Hewetson students qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
Literacy coach Salvador Rosales says that in the past students aspired to be hotel housekeepers or casino workers when they grew up. Today, they name jobs that require a college degree. Rosales says Hewetson is proving that "education does break those poverty barriers."
Icahn Charter School 1, New York City
In 2011, every single eighth-grader in Icahn 1 met state standards in mathematics, compared with just 60 percent of students in the state. In reading, 86 percent met standards, compared with 47 percent of all students — and only about 30 percent of African-American and Latino students — in the state.
Principal Daniel Garcia tells his teachers to make sure they help the student in their room who struggles most. "If you can make a difference with the child in greatest need," he says, "you'll make a difference for every child in that room."
The Education Trust says that this year's winners particularly demonstrate that schools of all kinds, and in every sort of community, can help their students achieve at high levels if they focus single mindedly on student success and leave nothing to chance. The schools have produced strong results from their pupils, despite challenging circumstances outside of the school.
"Each of these schools shows that, while this work is not easy, closing gaps and boosting achievement is within our power," said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust.
"The educators in these schools know that what they do can literally change the life trajectory of their students. Their unyielding commitment to working hard and smart pays off for the students they teach."
The winners will be praised as part of The Education Trust's 22nd annual national conference which will be held on Nov 3 in Washington.
Guided by the theme, "Leave Nothing to Chance: Closing Gaps and Raising Achievement," the conference will gather dynamic educators, experts and policymakers to discuss successful strategies for increasing educational opportunity and achievement for all students.