State Education Board Recognizes Utah’s Title I National Distinguished Schools

Three Peaks Elementary, Iron County School District

Three Peaks Elementary is located in Iron County just north of Cedar City. Principal Tim Taylor has led the school with a strong academic and high student academic performance focus. Three Peaks Elementary has been among the top performing Title I schools for more than five years.  On the state core assessments for 2011-12, Three Peaks scored 94 percent proficient in math, which was top ten in the state for all schools, and 90 percent proficient in reading.

Three Peaks is considered a K-5 mature Response to Intervention (RTI) school. After four years of RTI, the schools is participating in a national RTI study with Stanford University, providing them with detailed student data, and teacher survey information. Three Peaks Elementary has also formed a partnership with the University of Utah Reading Clinic for Tier 2 interventions. (Early Steps, Next Steps, and Higher Steps) and are participating in a research study with the clinic to test the effectiveness of instructional delivery.

Parent involvement at Three Peaks is fantastic. The school has logged over 3,000 volunteer hours each year and the PTA funds a visual arts specialist for all grades. One hundred percent parent participation in all SEP conferences has been maintained for the past four years. This has become the expectation at the school.

In addition to the above mentioned visual arts program, the school also boasts of a school orchestra that has 70 strings students in grades 2 through 5 and a choir has over 100 students in grades 1 through 6.

Bridger Elementary, Logan City School District

Bridger Elementary School is one of six elementary schools in the Logan City School District, which surrounds the picturesque campus of Utah State University. Principal David Long has led the school in a focused effort to improve student achievement. For the past two years the school has been recognized for closing the achievement gap among its students. Eighty percent of the students live in apartments and condominiums and as a result, there has been a constant flow to the school population.  Most years the school faces nearly a fifty percent turnover in the student population with two hundred and forty-nine students leaving or entering in 2011.

Students come from all walks of life.  Some are refugees from Haiti, Somalia, Burma, and other places around the globe.  Some are part of immigrant families from Mexico, all parts of Central and South America, Africa, the Marshal Islands, and Southeast Asia.  Some students are the children of university students in both graduate and undergraduate programs.  Some students are the children of migrant workers, factory workers, and other laborers. One fifth of the students in the school are English Language Learners.  Families here struggle financially as well, which results in nearly eighty percent of the students receiving free and reduced lunch.

Professional development for the teachers has focused on professional learning communities, English language learner strategies, the district literacy model, responsive school teams, and writing strategies. Thinking Maps and piloting Math In Focus this year has brought added opportunity to explore Singapore math strategies.

Bridger Elementary consistently scores well above the state averages in reading and math generally, but the progress scores show the students gaining more than a year and a half in academic ability in each given school year.  Beyond the recognitions, story after story exists of individual students who have changed their lives by making achievements many thought they would never be able to manage. The hope at Bridger Elementary is to make a difference in the lives of each student whether they are at the school for a few weeks or a few years.

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