More than a dozen schools in the metro-east were recognized with state awards for their academic successes including two East St. Louis elementary schools that are no longer open.
John M.D. Brown Elementary and A.M. Jackson Math and Science Academy, both of which were closed at the end of last school year, received the 2012 Spotlight School Award from the Illinois State Board of Education.
In fact, Brown was one of only 15 schools statewide to earn both the Spotlight and Academic Excellence awards.
"We are extremely proud of our students, teachers, principals and other support staff who help our students achieve their very best," said East St. Louis Superintendent Arthur Culver.
The Spotlight Award recognizes high-poverty schools where academic performance is closing the achievement gap. Criteria for the award include: at least half of enrolled students are classified as low-income students in 2012; schools met adequate yearly progress for 2011 and 2012; at least 60 percent of students met or exceeded standards in both reading and math in 2012 on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test; and at least 50 percent of students met or exceeded those same standards in the two preceding years 2011 and 2010 on the ISAT.
Brown and Jackson were among five schools closed by East St. Louis School District 189 as a way to address the district's budget deficit. The school closings were expected to save the district nearly $3 million. At the time, district officials also cited declining enrollment in the district as another reason for the closings.
Another school in East St. Louis School District, James Avant Elementary in Washington Park, which is still in operation, earned the state's Academic Improvement Award.
Last June, a story in the Belleville News-Democrat drew attention to what Culver called "inappropriate strategies and techniques" used by East St. Louis teachers in an effort to inflate test scores on the ISAT. Culver didn't name any specific schools where this may have occurred.
However, he said the three schools -- Brown, Jackson and Avant -- were not involved in the testing investigation that occurred last year.
In addition to James Avant Elementary, four other schools in the metro-east earned Academic Improvement awards. They were: Grant Middle School in Fairview Heights, Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Penniman Elementary School in Cahokia and Wesclin Senior High School in Trenton.
To earn this award, schools must show improvement of at least 7.5 points in state test scores in both reading and mathematics between 2011 and 2012; show an improvement of at least 15 points in state test scores in both reading and mathematics between 2010 and 2012; and show an upward trend in state test results.
More than a dozen schools in the metro-east were honored with Academic Excellence awards. Those schools were: Westhaven School in Belleville, Columbia Middle School and Parkview Elementary School in Columbia, Woodland Elementary School in Edwardsville, Grantfork Upper Elementary School in Highland, Millstadt Consolidated School in Millstadt, St. George Elementary School in New Baden, New Douglas Mid-Elementary School in New Douglas, St. Jacob Elementary School in St. Jacob, Scott Elementary School at Scott Air Force Base, C.A. Henning School in Troy and Wolf Branch elementary and middle schools in Swansea.
Belleville School District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman said the district is "really proud" of the work teachers and staff do at Westhaven School.
"It's an unbelievable accomplishment," Klosterman said of Westhaven receiving the Academic Excellence Award. "It's a tribute to the collaborative effort that goes on at the school."
To earn the Academic Excellence Award, schools made adequate yearly progress in 2011 and 2012 and 90 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in both reading and math for the three most recent school years.
In all, 624 schools in Illinois were honored with awards and made the annual Illinois Honor Roll for their continued academic progress. For more information on Illinois Honor Roll Schools, visit www.ilhonorroll.niu.edu.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.