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Four local schools recognized for high achievement
Four Yuma-area schools are among 141 in Arizona recognized by the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA) as being 2012 Arizona Higher Performing Schools.
Campuses given the title locally are Tierra del Sol Elementary School in Somerton, Desert View Academy in Yuma, Desert View Elementary School and Ed Pastor Elementary School in San Luis.
According to NCEA officials, schools are identified as high-performing based on consistent improvement in student achievement from previous years and/or absolute student achievement using the schools' results on the AIMS (Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards) test.
The award identifies elementary, middle and high schools in Arizona that have consistently outperformed their peers with similar student populations over a three-year period.
According NCEA officials, their analysis of the schools provides “an apples-to-apples comparison of school achievement ... to demonstrate that with the commitment of educators, all schools can have success no matter the ZIP code.”
Tierra del Sol Elementary was recognized for its math and reading scores, Desert View Elementary for its math and writing scores, Ed Pastor Elementary for its writing scores and Desert View Academy for its reading scores.
The principal of one of the highest achieving local schools, Veronica Lopez of Tierra del Sol, said the school “has come full circle since its inception in the last 12 years.”
“A large part of our success is the exemplary behavior of our students, which allows learning to take place, and our students owning their learning. TDS staff also holds the students and themselves to a high expectation, accepting and giving nothing less.
“Our parents have also played a role in believing, supporting and trusting TDS's vision in the commitment in educating their child. TDS administration wants to thank our staff, students, parents and community for supporting the success of our students and helping us achieve the recognition of being an Arizona Higher Performing School.”
Meredith Brooks, principal at Desert View Elementary, said they also hold their students to higher expectations in order to help them succeed. “We work really, really hard, so it was nice to be recognized as one of two schools in our district.”
Through a teacher and student performance grant, Brooks said, they drilled down on math this year because students were having difficulties with math word problems.
“We have a lot of second language learners, so this strategy worked beautifully because they don't just work out the problem, they have to justify their answers through writing,” Brooks said. “So it kind of brought in both the math and the writing.”
Brooks said they also have a writing consultant who comes in once a month to work with the students.
The four schools will be recognized for their achievements at an event hosted by the Arizona Business and Education Coalition on Dec. 7 in Phoenix. Visit www.nc4ea.org for more information about the awards.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.