By Julie Muhlstein Herald Writer
EVERETT — Madison Elementary School is celebrating a national honor that recognizes student achievement.
The Everett school was one of only two in the state recognized with a 2013 National Title I Distinguished School Award. On Dec. 17, a regular staff meeting at Madison turned into a celebration as the award was announced.
“We have closed the achievement gap, and performed well in a few subcategories of noteworthiness,” Madison Elementary Principal Mark Toland said Monday.
Because of the award, some Madison staff members will attend the 2014 National Title I Conference next month in San Diego, Calif., where they will meet educators from other nationally recognized schools. Toland said he and five or six Madison teachers and support staff will attend the conference.
Madison, on Pecks Drive near Evergreen Way, has about 430 students. The school met all federal Annual Measurable Objectives in 2011-12 and 2012-13, according to Linda Carbajal, an administrative assistant in the Everett School District’s communications department.
According to the Everett School District, Madison’s English Language Learning students and those in special education far exceeded federal academic targets measured each year. English Language Learning students make up a third of Madison’s population.
“Hispanic students showed strong growth in reading, as did students from low-income families,” the district said in a Dec. 30 press release.
For the national awards, two schools are selected annually from each state, said Nathan Olson, a spokesman for the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Schools send data to the state, and OSPI determines whether schools meet award qualifications, he said.
Monica Kemper, communications director for the National Title I Association, said Everett’s Madison Elementary won the 2013 national award in Category 1, for “exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years.” Neah Bay Elementary School, in the Cape Flattery School District, won the award in Category 2, which recognizes “closing the achievement gap between student groups,” Kemper said.
The federal Title I program, founded in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, now serves more than 18 million students through grade 12. Students qualifying for Title I services attend nearly every public school in the country.
“I didn’t win this award, our school did,” Toland said. “It’s largely because of a lot of hard work by our students, staff and parents.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.