INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education announced two Title I award grants for Indiana Schools today. Miami Elementary School in Lafayette was honored for Exceptional Student Performance for a Title I school. Additionally, Washington Elementary School in Fort Wayne was honored as a Distinguished School for Closing the Achievement Gap. As a result of their efforts, both schools will receive a $25,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education and will be invited to present at the next Indiana Title I Conference and attend the National Title I Conference in San Diego in 2014.
“I am excited to recognize the great work that these schools have been doing,” said Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Because of the efforts of students, teachers, administrators and parents in these communities, we are seeing evidence that all public schools can achieve exceptional documented gains in student achievement.”
The National Title I Association has been selecting examples of superior Title I school programs for national recognition through the National Title I Distinguished Schools program since 1996. Selected schools must qualify for one of the following categories:
“The two honored schools have demonstrated a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success and strong partnerships between the school, parents and the community.”
The Indiana Department of Education reviewed all Title I Reward schools for the 2012-2013 school year and identified nine schools for nominations based on the following criteria:
The nine schools nominated were:
Through data examination, principal interviews, narratives provided by schools, and site visits, Indiana Department of Education narrowed the field of nine distinguished schools nominees to the two honorees:
As a school-wide Title I program with a high achieving, diverse student population (535 enrolled K-4; 80% poverty; 34% Latino, 21% African-American; 41% Caucasian), Miami Elementary School is an educational success story. Seven years ago, Miami was struggling to educate a student body whose collective “at-risk” profile was increasing dramatically due to demographic shifts in the community (e.g., student poverty increased 50%). After studying and implementing research-based best practices for high poverty schools, Miami’s ISTEP+ passing rates increased during the past five years from an historic low of 50% in 2008 to an historic high of 90% in 2013. Specifically, Miami’s success is attributable to an increased focus on data-driven, systematic, and explicit instruction, professional development, and student, parent and community involvement.
Washington Elementary is a culturally diverse school located in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. It is part of Fort Wayne Community Schools, which is the largest school district in the state of Indiana. Washington is a small community of learners striving to achieve excellence every day. There are 232 students at Washington and over 94% percent of their students receive a free or reduced price lunch making it a school wide Title 1 building. As an Indiana Title I Reward School, Washington earned an A rating in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 for its student achievement scores. Washington’s success is attributed to teacher collaborations including analysis of student work, and information from assessment data synthesized to drive common weekly instruction and future skill assessment; weekly building and classroom goals related to the School Improvement Plan; community partnerships; and high expectations of teachers, staff, and students.