In mid-November, Sheridan Elementary Principal Dorothy Coleman received a request to attend an urgent meeting via Zoom with the Kansas Deputy Commissioner of Education. Mrs. Coleman wasn’t sure what the meeting was about and was afraid that she didn’t fill out or submit a form correctly.
Friday, November 20th, 2020 was that Zoom meeting. But, it wasn’t for something that Mrs. Coleman didn’t do correctly. That meeting was to inform her of something her school was doing very well – educating students.
Every year, each state chooses two schools to be recognized for their efforts in helping student have high academic achievement, despite having the added challenge of having a large population of low-income students. This year, Sheridan Elementary has been chosen as one of those two schools to represent the State of Kansas.
The National Association of Elementary and Secondary Education Act State Program Administrators (NAESPA) is responsible for choosing which two schools from their state will be selected for recognition. There are three categories that are used for school recognition. Sheridan is recognized in Category 1, which means that the students have shown exceptional student performance and academic growth for at least two consecutive years.
This isn’t the first time Sheridan has been recognized for it’s dedication to it’s students. Sheridan has received the National Blue Ribbon Schools award in both 2004 and 2017.
Mrs. Coleman is honored to receive this recognition. But, she is adamant that this achievement belongs to all of Sheridan’s teachers and staff. She knows that the success of the students is due to the hard work and dedication of Sheridan’s teachers and support staff. She says that their commitment to serve students and their families is inspiring.
Mrs. Coleman says that Sheridan has an inclusive environment, and she believes this allows everyone to focus on the students. “We are all equals,” she says. Everyone helps each other out, and it is not uncommon to see teachers working well after it is time to go home.
Mrs. Coleman also has what she calls her War Board. It contains every name of Sheridan’s more than 220 students. It tracks their progress on the core subjects, like reading and math, and helps her and her teachers know when a student is at-risk of falling behind. She believes identifying potential risks early is the key to providing support to students that need it. Sheridan’s recent recognition shows that these methods are working.
Sheridan teachers will be recognized at the Geary County Board of Education meeting on December 7th, and Sheridan will receive its award during the NAESPA virtual conference, during the first week of February.