Mid-Columbia schools on state's top-performer list

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldApril 16, 2014 

Eleven Mid-Columbia schools were named among Washington's top performers Wednesday by state education officials. Schools in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Prosser, Connell, Othello and Burbank received Washington Achievement Awards.

Most schools were recognized for student performance in one category, but North Franklin's Connell High School took honors in three areas: five-year graduation rate, growth in reading and high progress.

"We've been very successful," said Principal Tim Peterson. "It's all due to our staff."

More than 400 schools across the state received awards, which are sponsored by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State Board of Education.

The awards are given based on a school's past three years of student test data.

"These awards shine the light on what is working well in schools across Washington," said state board Chairwoman Kristina Mayer.

Along with Connell High, four other schools -- Kennewick's Kamiakin High School and Vista Elementary School, Columbia-Burbank's Columbia High School and Prosser's Whitstran Elementary -- were "high progress" schools. That means they are in the top 10 percent of schools where all students have made progress.

Kennewick's Southgate Elementary School, Othello's Scootney Springs Elementary School and Richland's Hanford High joined Connell High among the top schools making progress in reading.

"During the past five years we have had 20 Washington Achievement winners and it shows what a great job our students and teachers are doing," Kennewick Superintendent Dave Bond said in a release.

Pasco's James McGee Elementary School was the lone Mid-Columbia school rewarded for progress in math.

Whitstran and two Pasco schools, Maya Angelou and Rowena Chess elementary schools, received special recognition for their students' growth in English proficiency.

"These awards mark the dedication of the principals, teachers and staff members who work, often against great odds, to ensure that every student has an opportunity to thrive and succeed," Leslee Caul, Pasco School District director of Public Affairs, said in a statement. "We are very proud of their accomplishments and happy that the state is recognizing their efforts."

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