Each year, qualifying schools from each state receiving federal funds are recognized by the Distinguished Schools Program from the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators for their outstanding academic achievements. Only two schools are selected as National ESEA Distinguished Schools from each state for this esteemed honor.
To qualify for this award, the school must have:
1) A poverty rate of at least 35% for the selected year
2) Demonstrated high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years
3) Met or exceeded state-determined criteria based on two or more consecutive years of achievement data
This year, the honor was bestowed upon Sheridan Elementary school. Led by Principal Dixie Coleman, the passionate teachers and staff, the school has exhibited high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years and met the state-determined criteria.
“It’s quite an honor to be selected, one of two schools in the state. The only one in the category of Academic Achievement,” comments Mrs. Coleman. Sheridan Elementary has established the “Kids First” motto, which shows the school’s culture, the students, and the staff. This award, as prestigious as it is, encompasses more than the academic performance of the students. This award recognizes the hard work that both students and teachers commit to every day. It shows that people see the daily effort that they make.
When asked what Sheridan’s “secret” is, with no hesitation, Mrs. Coleman answered, “Relationships that are built between the staff and the students.” Every employee desires to care and connect with each and every student. She continued by quoting Mrs. Rita Pierson, saying, “Kids don’t learn from someone they don’t like.” What a fine line to balance, and they do it with grace. Mrs. Coleman expressed that the students need to feel safe and know that they can trust you. Being honored with the National ESEA Distinguished Schools is evidence that this philosophy is second to none in the realm of teaching.