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Tualatin Elementary wins national recognition

Students at Tualatin Elementary took a victory lap around the school on Friday as part of a celebration that recognized the Title I school for its hard work in the past four years.

“We are here because of your work,” said Tigard-Tualatin Superintendent Ernie Brown, as students filed into the gymnasium for a school assembly. “This is not just a one-year accomplishment, it’s a four-year accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourselves. Know that I am proud of you, your parents are proud of you, Mr. Kingerly is proud of you and the staff here are proud of you.”

The school was named a National Title I Distinguished School in January. The national award recognizes the school’s exceptional student achievements.

It was one of only two schools in the state to receive the honor in 2014, and state education officials planned to visit the school in early February for a special celebration and to give the school $5,000 in prize money. That plan was postponed after February’s snowstorm, but Principal Jaimie Kingery didn’t let a few weeks postponement dampen students’ spirits.

“Everyone in this room is doing everything they can to make sure you learn everything you can each year,” he told students. “Everybody in this room has a piece of this award, in some way.”

Oregon’s Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton presented the school with a check for its hard work. That funding will likely support the school’s reading intervention program.

“Learning is hard, but it’s also exciting,” said Saxton, who served as superintendent of the district until 2012. “You should know that your teachers are helping you to be anything that you want to be.”

Title I funding focuses on schools with largely economically disadvantaged and minority students. Of the Tigard-Tualatin School District’s 10 elementary schools, six receive Title I funding.

Nearly half of the students at Tualatin Elementary are considered low-income. Of the school’s 550 students, 48 percent receive free or reduced-price lunches.

In the past four years, Tualatin Elementary has become a model school for high-poverty with demonstrated academic success. Model schools are designated by the state to share best practices in order to guide other schools looking to boost student performance.

“This is a demonstration of what happens when we come to school and are focused on making improvement for every child, every day, in every way we can,” said Brown.

Students carried banners around the school before the assembly, touting themselves as “future leaders.”

“I love that message,” Brown said. “I hope you all believe in that because today, sitting here are the future leaders of our community, our state and our nation.”



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