School honored for achievement

Grass Valley is 'School of Distinction' for student improvement in reading, math

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Students work on improving their math skills with hands-on activities. Grass Valley Elementary was selected as a statewide "School of Distinction" for achievement in reading and math.

A local elementary school has made the prestigious statewide, “Schools of Distinction” list for the second year in a row.

Grass Valley Elementary in Camas was one of six schools in southwest Washington to receive this honor, by being among the top 5 percent in the state posting improved student achievement in reading and math over a 5 year period.

“The School of Distinction is a great honor,” said Sean McMillan, principal. “Grass Valley has now won this award two years in a row. I am very honored to be joining this wonderful school and community.”

McMillan replaced principal Patricia Erdmann, who retired last summer.

“All the credit (for this award) goes to Patricia, the outstanding staff and the awesome Grass Valley students,” he said. “The Grass Valley staff is a great group of educators who work extremely hard to help all students learn at high levels. The PTA and parents are also a wonderful group of caring people who help support the work the teachers do.”

The award is cosponsored by The Center for Educational Effectiveness, the Association of Educational Service Districts, the Association of Washington School Principals, Washington Association of School Administrators and Washington State School Directors’ Association.

Award winners include 55 elementary schools, 24 middle schools and 23 high schools.

“These schools represent the top 5 percent of improvement of all schools in Washington state,” said Greg Lobdell, CEE president. “These schools are from all regions of the state, all sizes of towns and with 2 percent to 100 percent poverty and enrollment of English language learners as high as 49 percent. These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring all across our diverse public schools.”

According to its new mission statement, Grass Valley intends to continue its commitment to high level learning by communicating clear learning and behavioral expectations, providing a safe and nurturing learning environment, focusing on personalized instruction, and empowering students and families to celebrate student growth.

“We come to school each day and work hard to make this mission come alive,” McMillan said. “We are also focusing on making sure we have a strong understanding of the Common Core Standards.”

In accordance with Common Core, all Washington schools will switch to the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 2014-15, which replaces the Measure of Student Progress.