Pathways to Excellence
Pathways to Excellence: My School, Our Future
What’s happening at the school down the road from you? Whether you have students in your family or not, the successes and shortcomings in our schools impact our society and the economy. We espouse equal opportunity, yet the educational experience and outcome for diverse economic and ethnic groups don’t reflect this ideal. Across Washington and throughout the nation, schools are working to overcome gaps in opportunity and achievement.
Honored with the Pathways to Excellence Award from Neah Bay to Toppenish, schools are trailblazing better learning for all, changing the outcome for even those most vulnerable. Students are taking ownership of their own learning through greater collaboration among teachers, a bolstering of school-family connections, adopting culturally relevant practices, and improving assessment and instruction.
"In a state and nation that struggle to serve American Indian students, let alone students from low-income families, Neah Bay Elementary defies the odds."
Explore Neah Bay Elementary's story through an interactive essay and videos.
2013 PATHWAYS TO EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
Neah Bay Elementary, Neah Bay Watch on YouTube
Something special is happening at Neah Bay Elementary, in the heart of the Makah Nation. Several years ago, the school embarked on a journey to increase the academic achievement of all its students, in all grades and in all subject areas. The staff’s efforts to support every student in meeting high academic expectations have led to incredible strides; Neah Bay Elementary students exceeded Washington state standards in five of the eight areas in which the state tested in spring 2012. READ MORE
Neah Bay Elementary has created a community of learners in which every staff member knows every student. Principal Alice Murner has guided staff in facilitating rigorous learning activities connected to state standards. Children are encouraged to take ownership of their learning, and they receive immediate feedback on their progress. Teachers continually search for ways to expand and enrich student learning. The school has linked to a wider community of educators and academic resources through collaborations with the University of Washington that include the Pipeline Project, in which U.W. student volunteers work with and mentor Neah Bay Elementary students.
Neah Bay Elementary has earned honors including two 2012 Washington Achievement Awards and a 2013 School of Distinction award. Such accolades are the direct result of years of dedication on the part of students, their families, school staff and the community. ^SEE LESS^
Toppenish High School, Toppenish Watch on YouTube
When it comes to helping historically under served students realize their potential, Toppenish High School is bucking state and national trends. Eighty-eight percent of the school’s students are Latino and 8 percent are American Indian. One hundred percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. While many schools and districts have not been able to create opportunities for success for Latino or American Indian students or those from low-income families, Toppenish High is helping all of its students excel, with a graduation rate of nearly 90 percent. READ MORE
At Toppenish High School, the past decade has seen dramatic growth in reading and writing achievement, and the school is working toward improvement in math and science scores through its widely hailed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program, which earned a Golden Apple Award in 2012.
Toppenish High strives to create meaningful relationships with students and families over time. Each student and family works with one teacher-advisor through all four years; this reliable point of contact contributes to the home-school rapport that is cited as a best practice among transformative schools. Regular reviews of student data help ensure that intervention is immediate if a student is struggling.
Thanks to a skilled and committed staff, Toppenish High School is achieving its mission “to develop passionate, empowered individuals ready for a world with infinite possibilities.”^SEE LESS^
Hudtloff Middle School, Lakewood Watch on YouTube
Oftentimes, accomplished schools do not meet the needs of historically underserved populations. Lakewood’s Hudtloff Middle School, on the other hand, has steadily fostered notable success for all its students. Maureen David, former principal of Hudtloff, credits a staff that has come together around a fundamental belief in the children’s abilities. High expectations backed by close, collaborative teaching and continuous review of student data mean great opportunities to excel for all, including the children from low-income families who make up 66 percent of the student body. “We don’t accept anything that wouldn’t be good enough for our own children,” explains David. “If you don’t expect the best from a student, regardless of their background, you are doing them a disservice.” READ MORE
All students at Hudtloff have the opportunity to shine. In fact, low-income students at Hudtloff have experienced an upward trend of success. Their scores in reading, writing, math and science surpass state averages and continue to climb.
The State Board of Education Achievement Index has identified Hudtloff as an Exemplary School, and its success has so impressed the Clover Park School District that Maureen David has been tapped to translate its gains for the entire secondary system in the district’s Pierce County service area. Hudtloff Middle School has made impressive progress in creating change for a large, urban population with high numbers of historically underserved students. ^SEE LESS^
2012 PATHWAYS TO EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
2011 PATHWAYS: A SPOTLIGHT ON AN INNOVATIVE PROGRAM
How do you improve a struggling school? Lincoln Center demonstrates gains that both meet and challenge conventional notions of school reform, through this unique program model. Learn More