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News Release - 2011 Title I "Distinguished Schools of the Year"

Nov. 4, 2011

News Release

Soaring Eagles and Harris Bilingual Elementary Schools Named Colorado’s 2011 Title I “Distinguished Schools of the Year”

The Colorado Department of Education announced today the selection of Soaring Eagles Elementary School and Harris Bilingual Elementary School as Colorado’s 2011 Title I Distinguished Schools of the Year.

Soaring Eagles Elementary School is located in Colorado Springs in Harrison School District 2 and Harris Bilingual Elementary is in Fort Collins in Poudre School District.

The award recognizes two Title I schools—one that has achieved academic success and one that made progress in closing achievement gaps associated with race and poverty. Each school will receive a $10,000 award to support its whole-school reform efforts.

Soaring Eagles Elementary was selected for the exceptional student performance award. In 2011, the percentage of students who were at or above the No Child Left Behind proficient level on the reading and math Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) was 98 percent. Soaring Eagles Principal Kelli O’Neil says it is her “privilege to work with the most tenacious group of teachers, who never settle for mediocrity.” O’Neil credits the school’s success to her staff and their commitment to collaboration and high standards.

Harris Bilingual Elementary School was selected as a distinguished school for their work in closing the achievement gap. Harris Bilingual, a high-poverty school, increased the percentage of NCLB proficient students in the reading and math CSAP among students eligible for free and reduced lunch from 88 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2011. This resulted in decreasing the achievement gap between poverty and non-poverty students. Harris Bilingual Principal Julie Schiola attributed the school’s success to “implementing small flexible grouping to meet the diverse needs of students, standards based instruction using a dual language model, a highly trained staff and a culture of commitment to continuous improvement.”

The Title I Distinguished School Program is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of State Title I Directors. The distinguished schools will be recognized at the National Title I Conference in Seattle, Wash. in January.

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