Ripley, Sweetwater Elementary Schools Win National Title I Distinguished School Awards


Ripley Elementary School in the Ripley School District and Sweetwater Elementary School in the Sweetwater School District have been named this year’s National Title I Distinguished School Award winners.

The National Title I Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Title I Association that publicly recognizes schools for their positive educational advances.

“I am so proud of the work of the teachers, administrators, students and parents at these two schools,” State Superintendent Janet Barresi said. “They are proving that no matter what hardship a child might face, such as poverty, great strides in learning can still occur when you combine dedicated staff with motivated students and families.”

In order for a school to qualify for the Distinguished School award it must have:

  • A poverty rate of at least 65% for the selected year
  • Demonstrated high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years
  • Met or exceeded state standards of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) (or the state’s equivalent) for at least two consecutive years

Only two schools from each state are selected for this award each year by the State Department of Education based on outstanding performance in one of these two categories:

  • Category 1: Schools that exceeded adequate yearly progress (or the state's equivalent) for two or more years.
  • Category 2: Schools that significantly closed the achievement gap between student groups.

Ripley Elementary was selected in Category 1 for exceeding the state’s equivalent of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), for two years. Under Oklahoma’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the state was allowed to use the new A-F report card and the school’s federal designation status instead of AYP. Ripley earned a grade of A, with a 4.0 grade point average on the school’s report card and was designated a High Performance Reward School for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. Lisa Pitts is the principal at Ripley; Dr. Kenny Beams is the district superintendent.

Sweetwater Elementary School was awarded in Category 2 for being  a school that has significantly closed the achievement gap between students. The school also earned an A on its report card with a GPA of 4.0, and also was designated a High Progress Reward School for the 2012 school year. Brenda Quinn is the school’s principal; Casey Reed is the district superintendent.

Each school received $15,000 to use to improve its Title I instructional program.

Because only two schools per state can be selected as a National Title I Distinguished School each year, this award is an especially prestigious honor for the school, staff and students.

Representatives from the two Oklahoma schools were honored at the National Title I Conference, held Jan. 21-24, in Nashville, Tenn. 

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Last updated on February 4, 2013