Press Release

(Washington, DC) –- The Education Trust today will honor five schools from around the country that have made extraordinary progress in educating poor and minority students to high academic levels. Their accomplishments will be celebrated at the Third Annual Dispelling the Myth Award ceremony held in Washington D.C. as part of the Education Trust’s 16th National Conference on closing the achievement gap. Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simons will join the Education Trust in presenting the awards.

“”These Dispelling the Myth schools provide powerful evidence that when we focus on raising achievement and closing gaps, real progress is possible and gaps can indeed close,”” said Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust. ““They prove that real change can happen now and not in some distant future.”

The Dispelling the Myth program honors schools that serve large populations of poor or minority students and meet one or more of the following criteria: They have made significant strides narrowing gaps in academic achievement between different groups of students; their achievement exceeds that of the state; or they are making improvements at a rapid pace.

These schools work to silence the dangerous belief that student achievement has more do with a child’’res background than with the quality of education a child receives. On a daily basis, the educators at these schools demonstrate that all children, no matter their background, can achieve academic success.

This year, the Education Trust is proud to honor the following recipients:

Dayton’’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School, St. Paul, Minnesota

Five years ago, Dayton’’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School, where almost all of the students are low-income, was viewed as one of the most challenged schools in the city, with nine out of 10 students not meeting state standards. In 2005, nearly eight in10 fifth-graders met state math standards, and reading performance has improved significantly.

Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School, Elmont, New York

At Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School, most ninth-graders become seniors and every senior graduates — most going on to attend four-year colleges. Seventy-five percent of the students are African American, 12 percent Latino, and 25 percent are low-income. In June 2005, Elmont Memorial had a 99 percent graduation rate, with the majority of students earning New York State’’s Regents diploma.

Frankford Elementary School, Frankford, Delaware

At Frankford Elementary School, a rural school where 70 percent of the student body is low-income and almost evenly divided among White, Latino and African-American students, all third- and fifth-graders met or exceeded state standards in reading this year and roughly nine in 10 met or exceeded state standards in math.

Rock Hall Elementary School, Rock Hall, Maryland

Rock Hall Elementary School is a small, rural school located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where 22 percent of the children are African American, 21 percent require special-education services, and 60 percent come from low-income families. In 2005, every fourth-grader met reading standards and every third-grader met math standards — including students with disabilities.

University Park Campus School, Worcester, Massachusetts

Most students at University Park Campus School enter seventh grade reading well below grade level, but by tenth grade they all pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) — most at proficient and advanced levels. Two-thirds of University Park students complete at least one college course before finishing high school, and all graduates go on to college, most to four-year colleges.

Two of the five award winners are secondary schools. As policymakers and educators bring renewed focus to the challenge of improving the American high school, these schools offer important lessons in the way high schools can effectively educate all groups of students.

The Education Trust conference will feature success stories from other high schools that are improving student achievement, especially for students who enter high school far behind their peers.

“Our nation’s students cannot wait a moment longer to receive the quality education to which they are entitled,”” Haycock said. ““Educators, policymakers, and community members need strategies to ensure that every student has what they need to be successful in life.  These schools are paving the way.”



In 2004, the Dispelling the Myth Award went to the following schools, school districts, and community leaders:

    • Central Elementary School, Paintsville, KY
      • Hambrick Middle School, Houston, TX
      • Lapwai Elementary School, Lapwai, ID
      • Norview High School, Norfolk, VA
      • West Jasper Elementary School, Jasper, AL
      • Garden Grove Unified School District, Garden Grove, CA
      • Aldine Independent School District, Aldine, TX
      • Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA
      • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Charlotte, NC
      • Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, VA
      • Dr. Mildred Hudson, CEO and Senior Advisor, Recruiting New Teachers, Belmont, MA
      • Mississippi Economic Council
      • The Business Coalition for Educational Excellence
      • New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
      • Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition
      • Boston Public Schools, MA
      • Garden Grove Unified School District, CA
      • Jefferson County Public Schools, KY
      • Aldine Independent School District, TX
      • Long Beach Unified School District, CA
      • Houston Independent School District, TX
      • Norfolk Public Schools, VA
      • Fontana Unified School District, CA
      • Longfellow Elementary School, Mount Vernon, NY
      • St. James – Gaillard Elementary School, Orangeburg County, SC
      • KIPP DC: KEY Academy, Washington, DC
      • Sycamore Elementary School, Kokomo, IN
      • Lincoln Elementary School, Mount Vernon, NY
      • Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, Alexandria, VA
      • Centennial Place Elementary School, Atlanta, GA
      • David D. Jones Elementary School, Guilford County, NC
      • South Scotland Elementary School, Scotland County, NC
      • The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, New York, NY
      • YES College Preparatory School, Houston ISD, TX
      • West Manor Elementary School, Atlanta, GA