5 Thurston schools named Schools of Distinction

Staff writerJanuary 29, 2013 

In addition to being honored in the Title I, Part A Distinguished Schools program, Madison Elementary School in Olympia is one of five Thurston County schools that were recently named Schools of Distinction.

All together, 97 schools in the state were given this award for their outstanding improvement in student achievement. They included: Olympic View Elementary in North Thurston Public Schools, East Olympia Elementary and Tumwater High in the Tumwater School District and Lackamas Elementary in Yelm Community Schools.

“These schools represent the top 5 percent of improvement of all schools in Washington state,” said Greg Lobdell, president of the Center for Educational Effectiveness, which coordinated the awards with several partners. “These schools are from all regions of the state, all sizes of towns, and with 2 percent to 95 percent poverty and enrollment of English Language Learners as high as 48 percent, these schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring all across our diverse public schools.”

The schools were rated by their standardized test scores in reading and math.

“This award speaks to the power of caring, authentic teamwork,” said Bob Richards, principal of Olympic View Elementary School in Lacey which has seen a nearly 26 percent jump in its fourth-grade math scores since 2007-2008. “Together, we have diagnosed student needs and worked methodically to address each one.”

At East Olympia Elementary, there’s a similar approach for reaching students at their level, and there’s also an emphasis in reaching parents, as well.

Meantime, Tumwater High School’s recognition is a result of its teachers and staff members “embracing education reform wholeheartedly,” said principal Scott Seaman.

“From examining instructional strategies, researching best practices, reforming grading practices, and aligning departmental procedures, we have changed our traditional approach to teaching and learning,” he said. “We have really strived to deliver a personalized education to each and every student at THS where failure is not an option for anyone.”

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