By TESA GLASS
Several Jefferson County and surrounding schools have been honored by the Illinois State Board of Education with Spotlight School awards, Academic Improvement Awards and Academic Excellence Awards.
Statewide, more than 600 schools made the Illinois Honor Roll for continued academic progress or excellence, according to the ISBE. The recognition is based on the previous spring state standardized tests and demographics.
Spotlight Schools recognize those with high poverty and high performance. Academic Excellence Awards recognizes schools which have sustained high performance over at least three years and Academic Improvement Awards recognize schools showing substantial academic improvement.
Two schools, one in Marion County and the other in Franklin County, received double awards. Iuka Elementary School won both the Spotlight Schools Award and the Academic Improvement Award, while Ewing-Northern School won both the Spotlight Schools Award and the Academic Excellence Award.
Two schools which have students from Jefferson County were named as Spotlight Schools — Grand Prairie Elementary School and Ashley Community Consolidated School. Those schools fit the criteria of having at least half the students enrolled classified as low-income students in 2012; made adequate yearly progress for the last two years of 2010 and 2011; had at least 77.5 percent of students who met or exceeded academic standards in 2010 or in 2011 and 2012 had at least 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards; and at least 50 percent of students met or exceeded the standards in 2010 and 2011.
Two Jefferson County schools received Academic Improvement Awards — McClellan Grade School and the Mt. Vernon District 80 Primary Center. The criteria for Academic Improvement Awards was to show improvement of at least 7.5 points in composite state test scores in reading and math between 2011 and 2012 or show an improvement of at least 15 points in composite test scores in reading and math between 2010 and 2012; and to show an upward trend in state test results.
No Jefferson County schools received Academic Excellence Awards. The criteria for the award is that schools must have made adequate yearly progress in 2011 and 2012; for elementary schools, 90 percent of students must have met or exceeded state standards in both reading and math for the three most recent school years; high schools must have 80 percent of students who met or exceeded state standards in both reading and math for the three most recent school years.
“These Honor Roll schools once again show us that rigorous standards, great instruction and lots of hard work improve student performance,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chico. “Behind each school’s success is an untold story of extraordinary passion and dedication on behalf of administrators, teachers, parents and students. We commend each school and hope local community members will also celebrate their local schools’ success.”