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Thumbs Up: Ohio schools narrow achievement gaps

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Public education would be easier if every student entered the classroom with the same skills and preparation.

But socio-economic factors make a difference, and schools across the country are working to close the persistent achievement gaps that show up between lower income and upper income students, as well as students black and white.

Recently, the state of Ohio recognized several schools in our region that really are getting the job done in that area.

These "Schools of Promise" scored 75 percent or better average proficiency rate in reading and math on the Ohio Achievement Assessments and the Ohio Graduation Tests, despite student populations that are more than 40 percent economically disadvantaged.

Only 141 of Ohio's 3,000 schools received the award. The winners included Ironton High School and Symmes Valley High School in Lawrence County, Green Elementary in Gallia County, and Clay High, Northwest High, Valley High, Stanton Primary and Wheelersburg Elementary in Scioto County.

While each school takes its own approach, officials say a few key elements have emerged in many of the "School of Promise" programs, including rigorous standards and instruction, strong instructional leadership, instruction designed for all students to succeed, parent and community involvement and a positive school culture.

"These schools overcome challenges, sometimes significant challenges, to provide a high-quality education to Ohio children," wrote Dr. Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction. "What they have done is working."

Congratulations to these winning schools, and hopefully, they will develop strategies to share with schools in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

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