The following is an excerpt from an article entitled "State Honors Local Schools," appearing in the Utica [NY] Observer-Dispatch (7-18):
"Ten schools across Oneida and Herkimer counties have been recognized as New York State Education Department ‘Higher Performing/Gap Closing’ schools, while the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Sauquoit Valley school districts earned district-wide recognition….
"‘Under No Child Left Behind, not only are we required to identify those schools that need improvement, but also to recognize those schools that are successful,’ said Ira Schwartz, coordinator for accountability, policy and administration for the [New York] state Education Department.
"For a school to earn the recognition, it must have met state standards for English language arts and math, as well as made adequate yearly progress on all English, math, science and graduation rate criteria, Schwartz said.
"The schools must also have had a minimum number of enrolled students in at least one of the No Child-identified groups that includes racial and ethnically diverse students, low income or limited English scholars or students with disabilities.
"Despite its diverse student population with a variety of needs, Utica school Superintendent Dan Lowengard said district-wide efforts to improve educational standards are definitely paying off.
"‘We never believed poverty should be an indicator of student achievement,’ he said. Four city elementary schools also received the select state recognition.
"‘It comes down to leadership at every level of the organization,’ he said. ‘From the board to the district office to building principals to the classroom, we all must work together.’"
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