By HFP Reporter on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 |
HUNTINGTON – Huntington County residents can be proud of the efforts of local teachers, students, and parents as the hard work they have invested has paid off with three of the 11 public schools in the district attaining Four Star status for the 2008-09 school year. Lancaster, Northwest and Roanoke elementaries are among 188 of the state’s 2011 public schools awarded the distinction, Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction announced Jan. 13. The award is based on attendance rates, student achievement and performance on ISTEP+. “These Four Star Schools represent the top 25 percent of schools in our state,” Dr. Bennett said. Roanoke and Lancaster schools have earned this honor several times in recent years, Roanoke in 2005-06, 2004-05, 2003-04, and 1996-97; and Lancaster in 2005-06, 2002-03 and 2000-01. Northwest has also returned to this high level of distinction after having exhibited marked growth in recent years.
Tracey Shafer, Superintendent of the Huntington County Community School Corporation, is pleased that three HCCSC schools have been awarded the honor and credits local commitment to education as the driving force behind the achievements. “We are proud of the accomplishments of our students, families and teachers in earning the distinguished Four Star status,” he said. “This honor exemplifies the high quality of educational attainment being produced across the district in Huntington County schools.”
To earn Four Star status, schools must meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and be in the top 25 percent of all Indiana Public Schools in four categories: Percent of students passing both English/Language Arts and Math on ISTEP+; ISTEP+ Language Proficiency T-Score; ISTEP+ Math Proficiency T-Score; and attendance rate. “I believe much of the progress is attributable to several cutting edge programs we have implemented,” Shafer said of Huntington County schools. “Our Highly Effective Teaching model used throughout the district focuses on increasing student learning by creating a brain-based classroom learning environment. A continued focus on scientifically research-based reading instruction and consistent use of our literacy model has improved our students’ reading abilities.”
Principal Paul Roth said students and staff at Roanoke Elementary were excited to hear the school had once again earned Four Star status. “Due to the effort of outstanding students, skilled teachers, talented staff, and supportive parents, we received our fifth Indiana Four Star School Award,” he said. “The entire Roanoke Community is pleased that our school received this highest state distinction.”
Principal John Purcell said earning the Four Star Award is significant to the Lancaster staff because it affirms that a greater number of students are mastering the skills necessary to be successful. “Such an award reinforces the fact that students, their parents, and the staff are committed to a common goal – academic growth,” he said. “Of course, such growth is not without much effort and sacrifice.” At night, children work on multiplication facts, read about the American Revolution, or write essays, he noted, adding this is often done because parents check their children’s book bags and make sure homework is completed. At the same time, he said, teachers spend evenings analyzing students’ work and planning how best to meet each child’s learning needs.“This Four Star recognition is, in many ways, a pat on the back for the many hours each of these groups – students, parents, and staff – invest in their common goal,” he said.
Terry Pierce, who has only been principal of Northwest Elementary since the fall of 2007, said this is an exciting time to be a student in Huntington County. “The Administration has implemented programs that target improved student academic, social and emotional growth,” she said. “These programs, combined with the efforts of students, teachers, support staff, and parents resulted in Northwest receiving the Four Star School Award.” Pierce went on to say that last year, staff at Northwest focused on student attendance through goal-setting and tracking data. “This spotlight on attendance helped Northwest’s attendance rate rise from 97 percent to 97.1 percent – just enough to make a positive difference,” she noted. “The Four Star Award validates our belief that it’s the little things we do at Northwest that have a huge impact on our students and school.”
The Four Star Award acknowledgement for the three elementary schools comes on the heels of two recognitions recently bestowed on Huntington County’s only high school. Huntington North was named a Best Buy School by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce –Best Buy Schools are those Indiana high schools that are producing the greatest academic achievements per dollar of taxpayer funds – and also received praise for raising its graduation rate 4.9 percent from 2008 to 2009 – from 84.2 percent to 89.1 percent.
About the Huntington County Community School Corporation
HCCSC is a single school corporation for Huntington County, IN, located in the northeast corner of the state, approximately 25 miles southwest of Ft. Wayne, IN. Our school corporation consists of three pre-schools, seven elementaries, one K-8 school, two middle schools and one high school. Enrollment is approximately 6,000 students. Students are currently enrolling in Viking New Tech High School scheduled to open for the 2010-2011 school year. Our students find success in the classroom through dedicated teachers who use scientific based research, found on a firm philosophy to create World-Class Learners. To learn more, visit www.hccsc.k12.in.us.
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