Oakland Elementary was honored for receiving the 2015-2016 Title I Distinguished School award at the Jan. 14 meeting of the Carroll County Board of Education.
According to presenter Linda Dalton, the award was given recognizing the student achievement for the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. She said a total of 1,856 schools were in the running for the honor. Forty-six schools were recognized as Title I Distinguished Schools for meeting all state and federal accountability requirements for two consecutive years and achieving Standards Of Learning (SOL) pass rates at the 60th percentile or higher for reading and mathematics.
Dalton told the board Oakland was in the 92nd percentile in English, 90th percentile in Math, 97th percentile in history and 96th percentile in Science.
According to information from the Virginia Department of Education, a school receives the honor for achieving a mean score at the 60th percentile for both English and mathematics; meeting full accreditation for a minimum of two consecutive years and for meeting or exceeding federal accountability benchmark targets for all students and each student subgroup for the current and previous years. High schools must meet or exceed the Federal Graduation Indicator for all students and in each of three “gap groups” in both the current and the previous year.
“The Virginia Department of Education values your division’s exemplary accomplishments and expertise,” wrote Commonwealth Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples in a letter to Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship. “Your continued dedication to students throughout your division is greatly appreciated. I congratulate all of the educators whose hard work and belief in the potential of all children have earned these recognition’s from the Board of Education. Their success provides a model for others and a way forward as we seek to narrow and ultimately close the achievement gap.”
Typically, Chapter I Distinguished Schools’ strengths include team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development, individualized programs for student success, and strong partnerships between the school, parents and the community. It is hoped the awards serve as a powerful message of documented student achievement gains from educational innovation. Schools seeking the honor have to meet a variety of criteria including a poverty rate of at least 35 percent for each of the two most current consecutive school years.
Applause from a nearly filled Government Complex meeting room followed an invitation for Principal Larry Williams and staffers to stand in front of the audience.
“It starts with these guys you see up here. They are fearless and have a willingness to try anything,” said Williams. “We have great kids. It’s just a great team effort and I couldn’t be more blessed to be a part of this.”
Blankenship told the board every year the district announces a theme. He said Oakland’s staff had taken the theme, “Every kid, Every teacher, Every day,” and made it their own.
“Public schools don’t get to select their students, but division superintendents, principals, teachers and other public school educators do decide how they respond to the challenges economically disadvantaged children bring to the classroom,” State Board of Education President Billy K. Cannaday Jr. said when the honor was initially announced. “The Title I schools we are honoring combine effective instruction with the non-instructional supports that inspire many children in poverty to focus and succeed.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.