Signal Elementary School accepts national school change award

sh-elementary.jpgSignal Hill Elementary School is one of only six schools nationwide to receive the 2007 National School Change Award for significant and sustained improvement in student achievement. The award is given by the National Principals Leadership Institute at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education.
The award is the Long Beach Unified School District’s second such honor in two years. Roosevelt Elementary School in Long Beach won the same award last year. The Signal Hill award was presented at the school during a ceremony Monday.
“We’re thrilled to receive the change award for the continuous improvement that’s gone on at Signal Hill,” said Principal Karen Williams. “The credit goes to the school’s staff and community. They routinely go above and beyond to do what’s best for our hardworking students.”
Signal Hill students outperform what is statistically predicted for them. Of the 750 students enrolled at the K-5 school, 90 percent qualify for free and reduced lunches. Forty-three percent of the students speak a language other than English at home, with Spanish the most common. Yet the school’s Academic Performance Index (API) rose from 667 in 2000 to 839 in 2006, far surpassing state targets for growth and overall achievement. The state’s ultimate API target for all schools in California is 800.
The transformation at Signal Hill has been driven by collaboration among the principal, teachers and staff, who regularly analyze student performance data to adjust instruction and teacher training. Regular time is set aside for teachers to learn from proven practices designed to raise student achievement.
Signs of continuous improvement are visible throughout the school. Walls are posted with grade level targets and charts showing their progress. Teachers work in small groups collecting data on student learning, especially emphasizing math, reading and language development instruction.
The National School Change Awards are conducted and co-sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. Schools are measured against 16 criteria, including: quality of teaching, alignment of standards, curriculum, instruction and assessment, perception of positive change among parents, students, teachers and administrators and increases in measurable outcomes such as promotion and attendance rates.
This year, 127 nominations were received. A national panel of judges selected the six winning schools. Long Beach’s Edison Elementary School also was one of the 24 finalists this year.
The award to each of the six winning schools includes a $5,000 grant and subsidized participation by the school’s principal in the 10th Annual National Principals Leadership Institute at Fordham University in New York City in July.
The award also includes a presentation by the United States Department of Education at a ceremony in New York City in July.
Signal Hill Elementary is a past winner of the California Distinguished School Award and the Title I Academic Achievement Award.

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