On May 23, Pleasant Grove Middle School in Rescue proudly raised the flag designating them as a California Distinguished School for the first time. The state-wide award recognizes and honors schools that have demonstrated educational excellence for all students and progress in narrowing the achievement gap.
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“We raised our Academic Performance Index, which measures student achievement, by 40 points,” said Principal Dave Scroggins. “We went from an overall score of 855 to 895 and the kids deserve the credit.”
Pleasant Grove has approximately 600 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. Last year, the staff employed two signature practices to raise achievement score for all students, especially those scoring below proficiency standards.
“First we did a data analysis to find out where the weak areas were,” said Scroggins, “then we created intervention classes during and after school to help students address those areas.” But the key seemed to be including the students themselves in the process.
“Our counselor, assistant principal and I met with every single student who was below proficient,” said Scroggins. “Some of them had never seen their scores and so they didn’t know how low they were. They didn’t take the test seriously, but then we talked about deficit areas and together, came up with an intervention plan.”
Teachers also talked with their students to motivate them to buy into their own performance, said Scroggins.
With the huge score gain demonstrated on the 2012 test, the school applied for the California Distinguished School Award. The California Distinguished Schools team came out to visit the school and talk with students and staff. In April, Pleasant Grove was notified of the award.
“We held an assembly to let our students know the results of their hard work,” said Scroggins. “It’s like a trophy to them and they were very excited.” Scroggins also credits the dedication of the Pleasant Grove staff for the honor.
This school year, Pleasant Grove continued the practices that helped make it a Distinguished School.
“Only this year, we also met with all the proficient students to motivate them not to slide back and with the advanced students to set some goals,” said Scroggins.
On May 10, California State Secretary of Education Tom Torkelson presented each of the recognized schools with a 2013 California Distinguished School plaque and flag at a regional award ceremony.
“The flag is going to fly over our school from this day forward,” said Scroggins.
After a presentation at Pleasant Grove’s promotion ceremony on May 24, the Distinguished School Award plaque will have an honored place in the office for all to see.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.