News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Decatur school awards remind us of excellence

Decatur City Schools provides the city with examples of its excellence so frequently that it sometimes gets less fanfare than it deserves.

Such was the case in its superb showing in a statewide evaluation process initiated under the No Child Left Behind Act. The awards went to schools showing excellence during the 2004-2005 school year.

The awards result not just in recognition, but in federal grants designed to continue and improve their successful programs.

Honor roll awards go to schools that have met or exceeded adequate yearly progress requirements two years in a row. Decatur elementary schools nailing this one include Chestnut Grove, Eastwood, Gordon-Bibb, Julian Harris, Leon Sheffield, Walter Jackson, Benjamin Davis and Woodmeade.

Another honor, the Gap Closer Award, targets schools that close the achievement difference between student groups. Oak Park Middle accomplished this by improving the educational attainments of its Hispanic students. Woodmeade Elementary pulled up its black students. West Decatur closed the gap for its impoverished students.

A school that did not make the list, but that is tireless in its efforts to help a student population confronting numerous physical problems, poverty and English language difficulties is Somerville Road Elementary. The school rarely gets recognition, but its staff manages to find enthusiasm in a thankless task.

Community leaders know the importance of good schools as a vehicle for economic development. More important, however, is the impact on children and their families. Those of us who live here know Decatur City Schools is a big part of what makes this city an excellent home.

Way to go, guys!

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