For Immediate Release
December 11, 2012

Two Illinois schools to be recognized as National Distinguished Schools

Irving Elementary in Berwyn South School District 100 and Sheridan Elementary Math and Science Academy in Chicago District 299 recognized for academic success

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced that it has chosen two Illinois schools with high percentages of children in poverty to be honored next month for academic success. Irving Elementary in Berwyn South School District 100 and Sheridan Elementary Math and Science Elementary in City of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) District 299, will be among schools across the nation honored during a January annual conference of the National Title I Association focused on serving students in poverty.

“We’re proud to have recommended these two schools for overcoming the challenges related to teaching children in poverty,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “But the teachers, administrators and families of these two schools deserve all the credit for working together to achieve academic gains.”

The National Title I Association, established to help improve and implement programs under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA), recognizes up to 2 schools per state as National Title I Distinguished Schools. Title I is the largest federally-funded pre-college education program, providing funding to school districts that serve students from lowincome families.

Each state may select one qualifying school in each of the following two categories:

  1. A school that has exceeded its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two or more years. Such schools must also have a student population in which 65 percent of students are poor, demonstrate high academic achievement for four years and show growth in all subgroups; students with disabilities, students classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP), low-income and minority students.
  2. A school that has significantly closed the achievement gap between students. Such schools must also meet the above criteria and reduce the achievement gap between racial/ethnic groups and White, Asian peers as well as the gap between low-income and non-low-income students.

At Sheridan Elementary Math and Science Academy, more than 68 percent of students are classified as low income and ISAT scores have risen from 91.7 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in 2009 to 94.1 percent meeting and exceeding in 2012. The ISATs are routinely administered each spring.

Irving Elementary in the Berwyn South School District has seen the ISAT composite score increase by 8.7 percentage points, growing from 77.8 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in 2009 to 86.5 in 2012. This school has closed the achievement gap by 5.3 percentage points in reading and 1.7 percentage points in math since 2009. Additionally, the achievement gap has also narrowed between low-income and non-low income students by 17.6 percentage points in reading and 3.8 percentage points in math since 2009.

Both schools have been invited to be recognized during the Association’s annual conference, to be held in Nashville, TN, in January 2013. The State Board of Education will cover travel expenses for up to four people to represent each school and attend the conference.

“Celebrating these two Illinois’ schools success on a national platform is an extraordinary opportunity and experience,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “As Illinois strives to be a national change agent, this sets the stage for our schools to share their success at helping every child succeed, and achieve at high levels.”


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