Each year two Alaska schools are honored as a National Title I Distinguished School. This year, Chapman School in Anchor Point was recognized for exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years. Nikolaevsk School in Nikolaevsk was recognized for significantly closing the achievement gap between student groups.
“We are very proud of the schools,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek. “Their staff, students, and communities have worked very hard. There is an obvious focus on meeting individual student needs, which has shown great results. We are very excited that the schools have earned this honor from the state level.”
According to the state Department of Education and Early Development, “Title I schools receive federal funds to support programs that supplement instruction to meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in high-poverty schools. The National Title I Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Title I Association. Selected schools must have a poverty rate of at least 35 percent and have been recognized by the state as a reward school in either the highest performing category or the highest progress category. Each state, using its own selection process, may select one school in each category for the honor.”
Alaska identifies eligible schools for the award based on their students’ performance on state standards-based assessments. Identified schools then must choose to apply for the honor, providing evidence of effectiveness in research-based instructional strategies, opportunities for all children to achieve, coordination of Title I with other programs, professional development of staff, and partnerships with parents, families and communities.
“The educators, students, and parents of Chapman School and Nikolaevsk School believe that all students can achieve, and they prove it every day,” said Education Commissioner Mike Hanley. “It is a great pleasure to congratulate these school-communities for their well-deserved recognition.”
Chapman School focuses on interventions and supports for grades K-3 in an effort to help decrease the learning gap between student groups. The foundation for these interventions is based on district-adopted and research-based curriculum partnered with data-based decision making for all students.
“Through our Title I programs, Response To Intervention (RTI) program, community involvement, and top-notch staff, we continue to make it possible for all of our students to achieve. Our students continue to rise to the challenge and do just that,” said Principal Conrad Woodhead.
Nikolaevsk School representatives say they’re proud of the school’s high expectations for students and consistent 100 percent graduation rate. All students at Nikolaevsk develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) based on their personal academic data and lead their own student-parent-teacher conferences.
“As a result of the teachers’ efforts toward focusing on individual student needs, adopting programs that fit within those goals, and focusing on research-based methods in instruction, Nikolaevsk has seen years of success as a five-star school and a school with successful students,” said Principal Michael Sellers.