Each youth can make a difference in the future. Each teacher can make a difference today.
Area schools’ commitment to excellence is displayed in the fact that six schools in Union and Wallowa counties have earned spots on the state’s 2008-09 honor roll. That’s an impressive achievement. The schools received “outstanding” ratings from the Oregon Department of Education’s annual report card program designed to spur excellence in education statewide.
Let the celebrating begin. Recognized as outstanding were four Union and Wallowa county grade schools — Central in La Grande, Enterprise, Imbler and Wallowa — and two high schools — Enterprise and Imbler. Cove received an “outstanding” mark as a district, being too small to be rated as a school.
The high marks reveal much. They reflect what happens when teachers have high expectations of students and go the extra mile to unlock their talents.
Among the criteria for grading are attendance, targeting specific areas of improvement for reaching benchmarks and state assessment test results. To reach the highest score a district or school needs to more than just show up. A district or school needs caring teachers who give students diverse educational opportunities and build student skills through mentoring relationships.
The high scores local schools and districts received deserve a round of applause. The achievement shows the value of challenging, competitive public schools, and the importance of making an educational investment in the future. But as Wallowa Superintendent Bob Sisk pointed out, while one year of high marks is encouraging, a better indication of achievement is maintaining high marks over many years. Local schools and districts are committed to doing just that. Local students will benefit from that commitment.