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All Honorees

Use search features below to find honorees by district name, program category, or award cycle.

November 2015

Honoree: Taylor County School District Category Graduation rate

In rural Campbellsville, Kentucky, most local industries require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to submit an application for employment.

Administrators from Taylor County School District noticed that a percentage of its 2,800 students were quitting high school only to come back months later, when they could not attain a GED.

Honoree: ABC USD Category Public/private partnerships

Administrators from ABC USD in Los Angeles County partnered with social service agencies 10 years ago to develop a multi-tiered system of support to address student mental health and behavioral issues.

A System of Caring, which is a prevention-based, districtwide program, offers differentiated mental health services to all students. Treatment becomes more extensive based on the individual’s needs.

Honoree: School District of Menomonee Falls Category Student achievement

The School District of Menomonee Falls in a suburb of Milwaukee faced large student achievement gaps, high suspension rates and low staff morale.

Administrators developed the Model for Improvement to raise achievement for all 4,200 students using frequent assessments, data collection and instruction tailored to student feedback.

Honoree: Staunton City Schools Category Literacy

When new state standards demanded students reach higher literacy levels and attain deeper understanding of texts, Staunton City Schools in Virginia realized it needed a more rigorous K5 reading program.

First, the district established a 2 ½-hour daily literacy block that includes group reading of grade-level texts, differentiated instruction and writing. Teachers assigned high-quality authentic literature to ensure students were being exposed to broad vocabulary.

Honoree: Cardinal Community School District Category Student achievement

Cardinal Community School District in southeast Iowa did not have much success getting students to attend traditional summer school.

In 2013-14, administrators from the pre-K through grade 12 district of 640 students decided it was time to redesign the program.

The new Summer Learning Camp, or school, lasts for six weeks, and is available to all grades. It operates on a full-day schedule, with the option for free childcare before and after school.

Honoree: Anne Arundel County Public Schools Category Public/private partnerships

Growing enrollment, stagnant budgets and increasing demand for parent choice led Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland to open the Monarch Global Academy Contract School in fall 2014.

The district chose to develop a K6 contract school as opposed to a charter school so as to enroll students from a defined area—in this case, to reduce overcrowding in three elementary schools.

July 2015

Honoree: Independence School District Category Health and wellness

The Great Recession of 2008 hit hard everywhere, including at the Independence School District in Missouri.

Teacher and administrative positions were cut, and Superintendent Dale Herl needed a creative way to stretch the budget.

Seeing an opportunity in health and wellness, he developed the Employee Health Clinic and Wellness Center. District employees who enroll in one of six healthcare plans can use them for free.

Honoree: Montville Township School District Category Student achievement

A homegrown approach to student-centered learning in Montville Township School District in northeastern New Jersey ignites the passions of teens who had previously fallen through the cracks of the classroom.

Administrators in the suburban district of 4,000 students developed the Humanities Research Program to help struggling and average students achieve the higher-level thinking, processing and presentation skills often expected only of honors or AP classes.

Honoree: Dallas ISD Category Student achievement

Nearly all Dallas ISD teachers had for years been meeting expectations, on paper, but student achievement data showed serious achievement gaps between white students and their black and Hispanic counterparts. The district decided it had to bolster teacher evaluations.

Honoree: Bremerton School District Category Efficiency and operations of the district, reducing costs

Bremerton School District in Washington faced a dilemma in 2001. Only 4 percent of students entering kindergarten could demonstrate foundational early literacy skills, such as identifying letters. Longitudinal data revealed traditional half-day kindergarten did not help students catch up. And as of 2003, the district’s graduation rate was 57 percent.

Honoree: Taylor County School District Category Personalized/individualized learning

It’s not your typical 1-to-1 program. In Taylor County School District in Campbellsville, Kentucky, students are not assigned grade levels. They chose classes based on personal learning styles. They can move up a course level when they master the content and, for the past six years, every one of them has graduated.

John Van Wyck, director of student services for Pages County Schools, holds a sign that clearly explains the success of the center.
Honoree: Page County Public Schools Category Student achievement

Instead of giving up on at-risk children—some of whom got into fights at school and were suspended for a few days—Page County Public Schools in Virginia created a special center to cater directly to them.

Honoree: Abington School District Category Student achievement

High standardized test scores had been a source of pride for Abington School District in Pennsylvania. But when No Child Left Behind required a deeper dive into the data, the district discovered a significant achievement gap for black students and special education students.

Honoree: Baldwin-Woodville Area Schools Category Personalized/individualized learning

Administrators and staff at Greenfield Elementary School—part of the Baldwin-Woodville Area School District in rural Wisconsin—felt their high achieving students were growing bored because they did not have enough opportunities to be creative or pursue individual interests.

Honoree: Baltimore County Public Schools Category Personalized/individualized learning

Baltimore County Public Schools already won acclaim for its high school and magnet programs, and its wellness and arts initiatives. Its graduation rate and enrollment were increasing a few years ago.

However, the 110,000-student district continued to struggle with achievement gaps based on race, gender, poverty, special education and English language proficiency.

At the same time, student access to technology varied among the districts 173 schools and other buildings.

Honoree: Barrow County School System Category STEM

Barrow County School System in Georgia built its Direct To Discovery (D2D) program to create tech-savvy students who would be qualified to fill STEM jobs in its region.

The homegrown D2D is based on the hypothesis that “a substantial increase in student engagement brings an increase in student interest and performance,” says Edward Morrison, the district’s director of research and innovation.

Honoree: Beecher Community School District Category Student achievement

Threat of a state takeover in a small urban district in Michigan led administrators to spread classes out over the entire year.

Two schools in the Beecher Community School District—Tucker Elementary and Beecher High—fell to the bottom 5 percent of Michigan’s academic performance list. The persistent low scores—despite administrators’ push to update instruction—raised the risk of state takeover in the school system just outside the financially struggling city of Flint.

Honoree: Bloomfield School District Category Personalized/individualized learning

An average 136 ninth graders at Bloomfield High School in New Jersey failed at least one class between 2007 and 2011. Nearly 90 students failed multiple classes, knocking them drastically off-course for graduation.

In response, Bloomfield School District in 2010 launched RAFT (ReAssement For Transfer) to better support students during the sometimes difficult early years of high school.

Honoree: Brownsville Area School District Category College/career readiness

An entrepreneurship class at Brownsville Area High School has expanded into an educational track that now starts in middle school.

One of the goals is to provide economic opportunities for students, and keep young people from leaving the southwest Pennsylvania city that has seen many of its downtown businesses boarded up. Median household income in Brownsville has fallen to $24,000, compared to the $51,000 state average.

Honoree: Clarksville-Montgomery County School System Category Professional development

Rapid district growth in enrollment and schools—and an aging workforce—convinced the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System in Tennessee to devise a comprehensive approach to leadership development and succession.

The program, launched five years ago, covers all levels of employees in the district— from classified workers such as custodians and office assistants, to certified staff like teachers, administrators and central office coordinators.

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