WEAU)—A Jackson County school district is ‘beating the odds.’ Lincoln Elementary and Junior High School are listed among 167 small schools across the state recognized for helping students go above and beyond expectations.
The schools were given the ‘Beating the Odds’ award. DPI gives the award to schools that have high poverty rates but their students are performing above average in reading and math benchmarks.
60 percent of their students attending the Alma Center, Merrillan and Humbird School District are living in poverty.
"You don't have to come from a wealthy school district to get a great education," Elementary Principal Brad Rogers said.
Rogers says what makes AC-M-H School District successful is the community.
“The community places a high value on education. The staff believes all students can learn and achieve at high levels and they have that expectation. And the parents have that expectation too. So the students really work hard,” said Rogers.
At the elementary school, 31 percent students scored proficient or advanced in reading and 46 percent of students hit the same benchmark for math.
“We expect every kid to make big progress every year,” Teacher Chad Hagedorn said.
At the junior high school, 36 percent of students tested proficient or advanced in reading and 46 percent in math.
"We want to keep that going," Junior High School Principal Paul Janson says can't just slide by in order to pass a class. He adds students have to score a grade of 75 percent of higher.
“We have a common first hour study hall that allows kids to get help anytime they need it and an after school program that kids take advantage of when they fall behind,” Janson said.
But beyond the academics AC-M-H Superintendent Paul Fischer says students have to want to come to school.
“The biggest, most important thing is to build relationships with students,” Fischer said.
This is the 7th in a row that Lincoln Junior High School has gotten the award and the 6th time the Lincoln Elementary School has been honored. Each school will get $500 scholarship for winning.